Russia holds interest rates after rouble's tumble

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By Euronews
Russia holds interest rates after rouble's tumble

Russia’s Central Bank has left interest rates unchanged amid turmoil surrounding the rouble’s decline, falling oil prices and rising inflation.

After four cuts this year, the benchmark rate remains at 11 percent in a move that was widely expected.

The news was announced by the Governor of the Bank of Russia, Elvira Nabiullina.

“Taking into account external factors and the latest statistics, we have reviewed our forecast for the current year. Our main scenario predicts a shift to an upward trend of economic growth in the second part of next year,” she said.

In the meantime forecasts for 2015 make gloomy reading.

Inflation is running at an annual rate of 15.8 percent, although it is predicted to slow to around 7 percent by next September.

Meanwhile the economy is expected to contract by between 3.9 and 4.4 percent.

Russia relies on oil and gas for revenue – so a halving of oil prices over the past year has had a serious impact. The dependence on oil is behind the rouble’s recent decline –
a fall of 10 percent since the central bank last met in July.

The weak currency makes it difficult to cut interest rates further to spur growth – the danger being that the cost of imported goods might rise still further, causing inflation to spiral out of control.