World Bulletin / News Desk
Russia's central bank on Friday decreased its key interest rate to 9 percent from 9.25 percent in line with its policy to gently invigorate the country's economy.
The board "notes that inflation is close to the target, inflation expectations keep declining, and economic activity is recovering," the bank said, adding that it will continue "moderately tough" monetary policy to keep inflation in line.
Annual inflation in May stood at 4.1 percent, inching down over the past months towards Russian government's target of four percent. Though Russians are in "savings behaviour patterns," the bank observed "signs of nascent recovery in consumer activity."
The bank added it considers mid-term inflation risks "elevated", adding that it is likely to maintain a tight monetary policy "for a long time to anchor inflation close to its target."
Russia's GDP grew 0.5 percent in the first quarter of 2017, its statistics agency said last month, slowly recovering from a crippling economic crisis in the wake of the crash of oil prices and international sanctions in 2014, which diminished people's purchasing power.
The government expects growth to reach 2 percent this year.
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The figure was slightly lower than analysts had forecast, following a 1.4 percent hike in overall prices in August.
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In its latest forecast, the IMF predicted the Russian economy will expand by 1.8 percent in 2017 and by 1.6 percent in 2018.