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Central Bank may cut key rate to 8.5-8.25% by yearend — ex-finance minister

July 11, 10:38 UTC+3

The regulator’s board of directors decided to cut the key rate by 0.25 percentage points to 9.00% per annum on June 16

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YEKATERINBURG, July 11. /TASS/. Russia’s Central Bank may reduce its key rate to 8.5% and even 8.25% per annum by the end of 2017, Chief of Russia’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR) Aleksei Kudrin said Tuesday.

"My outlook (for the Central Bank’s key rate - TASS) has been 8.5% as of yearend, and it is still the same - 8.5%, maybe even 0.25 percentage points lower," he said.

The regulator’s board of directors decided to cut the key rate by 0.25 percentage points to 9.00% per annum on June 16. The board noted that inflation is close to the target, inflation expectations keep declining, and economic activity is recovering. Inflation risks were down in the short term, while they remain in place in the medium term. The Bank of Russia said it will continue to conduct moderately tight monetary policy to maintain inflation close to the 4% target. It also sees room for cutting the key rate in the second half of 2017. The next board meeting focused on the key rate is planned for July 28, 2017.

On inflation 

The high level of June inflation in Russia will not affect the plan to meet the 4% inflation target by the end of 2017, according to Kudrin.

"It will not (affect the target - TASS). I think the targets will be hit and we’re going to have around 4% (inflation) as now it is partially related to seasonality and partially - to a traditional tariff hike starting July 1," he said.

Director of the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Department Igor Dmitriev said earlier that Russia’s inflation data for June gave the regulator an unpleasant surprise, as the virtual annual inflation growth for last month was higher than expected.

According to Rosstat, the national statistics service, inflation in Russia amounted to 0.6% in June following a 0.4% rise in May. In annual terms the growth of consumer prices stood at 4.4% in June 2017.

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