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Russia seen cutting benchmark interest rate by 50 bps to 7.5% - Reuters poll

Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Russia seen cutting benchmark interest rate by 50 bps to 7.5% - Reuters poll © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: National flag flies over the Russian Central Bank headquarters in Moscow, Russia May 27, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

By Alexander Marrow and Elena Fabrichnaya

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russian central bank is expected to cut its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 7.5% on Friday to encourage lending as inflation continues to slow, a Reuters poll suggested on Monday.

The bank has been gradually reversing an emergency rate hike to 20% in late February that followed Russia's Feb. 24 move to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine and the imposition of increasingly wide-ranging Western sanctions in response.

Since then, the central bank made three 300 basis-point cuts in a row followed by a 150 bps reduction to 9.5% in June, before surprising analysts with another 150 bps cut to 8% at its last meeting, on July 22. At that meeting, the bank said it would study the need for more cuts.

Twenty of 23 analysts and economists polled by Reuters on Monday predicted that Russia would cut its benchmark rate by a further 50 bps on Friday.

"The fast slowdown in inflation and the need to support the structural transformation of the Russian economy in the face of sanctions plays in favour of further monetary policy easing," said Mikhail Vasilyev, chief analyst at Sovcombank.

BCS Global Markets said a 50 basis-point cut was already largely embedded in bond and share prices.

"The regulator's comments on future prospects are important," BCS said. "It is likely that the central bank could take a pause in its monetary policy easing cycle in the future."

Russia's annual inflation slowed further in August to 14.3%, data showed last week, while consumer prices fell for a ninth straight week, thanks in part to a seasonal drop in fruit and vegetable prices.

Inflation is still far above the central bank's 4% target, but down from 20-year highs seen soon after Moscow sent its troops into Ukraine.

Several analysts predicting a cut to 7.5% said that the move could even be deeper, to 7%. Only two forecast a 100 bps cut, and just one predicted a shallower cut to 7.75%.

SberCIB Investment Research, the investment arm of Russia's largest lender, Sberbank, said consumer prices falling faster than usual in recent months and likely continuing to do so in September meant the central bank could lower its key rate to 7%.

Andrei Kostin, CEO of no.2 lender VTB, last week said there was room for the central bank to cut its key rate to 7.5% and then 7% to stimulate lending in Russia's banking sector.

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04-10-2022 13:28:38 (UTC+7)

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 EUR/USD0.9859↑ Buy
 GBP/USD1.1349Sell
 USD/JPY144.80Neutral
 AUD/USD0.6505↑ Buy
 USD/CAD1.3599↑ Sell
 EUR/JPY142.79↑ Buy
 EUR/CHF0.9766Neutral
 Gold1,711.05Sell
 Silver21.012↑ Buy
 Copper3.4625Sell
 Crude Oil WTI83.94Neutral
 Brent Oil89.35Neutral
 Natural Gas6.466Neutral
 US Coffee C215.55↑ Sell
 Euro Stoxx 503,342.17↑ Sell
 S&P 5003,678.43↑ Sell
 DAX12,209.48Neutral
 FTSE 1006,908.76Neutral
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 Lufthansa5.716Sell
 Siemens AG100.92↑ Sell
 Deutsche Bank AG7.630↑ Sell
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