Russia Raises Key Rate to 9.5%


Russian central bank decided to increase the one-week repo rate by 150 bps to 9.5 percent on October 31st citing high inflation. Since the beginning of 2014, the benchmark interest rate rose four times by a total 400 bps.

Excerpts from Information Notice of Bank of Russia:

During September-October significant changes in external conditions have taken place: considerable fall in oil prices and stricter sanctions imposed by certain countries against several large Russian companies. As a result the ruble depreciated that together with restrictions on the import of certain food items imposed in August resulted in further acceleration in consumer prices growth. According to the Bank of Russia estimates, inflation will remain above 8% till the end of 2014 and in 2015 Q1. Continuing high growth of consumer price will result in persistent increase in inflation expectations creating additional inflation risks. The
Bank of Russia will continue to take measures aimed at slowing down consumer prices growth to the target of 4% in the medium run. If the external conditions improve and inflation and inflation expectation show a stable downward trend, the Bank of Russia will be ready to start monetary policy easing.

According to the Bank of Russia estimates, annual GDP growth rate in 2014 Q3 was 0.2%. Economic slack does not have considerable restraining effect on consumer prices increase as it is mostly caused by structural factors. Utilization of productive factors — labor force and commercially viable productive capacities — is high though labor productivity grows slowly. Due to the long-term demographic trends labor supply decreases. Besides structural factors, increased external political uncertainty has an adverse impact on economic activity. Amid limited access to long-term financing and higher borrower requirements from Russian banks, fixed capital investments are contracting. At the same time consumer demand is cooling down as real wage growth and retail lending are slowing. External economic conditions have restraining effect on the Russian economy: oil prices see a significant decline while economic activity of most Russia’s trading partners remains weak. However, exchange rate dynamics and restrictions on the import of certain food items support some industries. According to the Bank of Russia estimates, economic growth rate in 2014 Q4 and 2015 Q1 will be close to zero.

Consumer prices growth is very likely to persist at the current level till the end of Q1 2015 due to remaining sizeable impact of restrictions on the import of certain food items and ruble depreciation in August-October 2014 on prices. Later, as the economy gradually adjusts to external trade restrictions and the impact of exchange rate dynamics on prices reduction, inflation and inflation expectations are expected to see a renewed decrease. Slower consumer prices growth will also be facilitated by subdued aggregate demand with aggregate goods and services output remaining below the potential. However, inflation decline will be slower than previously expected. The Bank of Russia will continue to take measures aimed at stabilizing inflation expectations and slowing down consumer prices growth to the target in the medium term. Should the external conditions improve, and inflation and inflation expectation show a stable downward trend, the Bank of Russia will be ready to start monetary policy easing.

Russia Raises Key Rate to 9.5%


Central Bank of the Russian Federation | Joana Taborda | joana.taborda@tradingeconomics.com
10/31/2014 10:45:00 AM