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Russia's Nabiullina says central bank could cut rates this year

Russia's Nabiullina says central bank could cut rates this year
FILE PHOTO: Russian Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia March 22, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo   -   Copyright  Maxim Shemetov(Reuters)
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By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank may be in a position to cut interest rates this year, Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina said.

“We see the probability to cut the rate this year,” Nabiullina told a news conference on Friday on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington.

The central bank held its key rate at 7.75 percent in March, predicting that the current inflation pattern did not require another hike after the bank raised rates twice in 2018.

Annual inflation in Russia is likely to slow in April from the 5.3 percent seen in March, Alexander Morozov, head of the research department at the central bank, said on Wednesday.

Morozov said annual inflation, the central bank’s main remit, is unlikely to reach its previously expected peak of 5.5 percent this year, saying that a rise in the rouble is limiting the pace of price growth.

A Reuters poll late last month showed that analysts and economists expect policymakers to cut interest rates in the fourth quarter. Prior forecasts included no expectation of a 2019 rate cut.

(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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