The Bank of Russia decided to keep the key rate at 10.00% p.a.
On 28 October 2016, the Board of Directors of the Bank of Russia decided to keep the key rate at 10.00 per annum. The Board of Directors notes that the dynamics of inflation and economic activity are overall in line with the forecast. At the same time, inflation is slowing down to a great extent on the back of temporary factors, while deceleration in inflation expectations remains unsteady. For the trend towards inflation slowdown to become sustainable, according to Bank of Russia estimates, it is necessary to hold the current key rate throughout 2016, with its potential downgrades due in 2017 Q1-Q2. Given this decision and considering that the moderately tight monetary policy is maintained, annual growth in consumer prices is set to total less than 4.5% for October 2017, dropping to the target level of 4% by the end of 2017. When making its key rate decisions in the months ahead, the Bank of Russia will assess inflation risks alongside with the alignment of inflation dynamics and economic performance with the baseline forecast.
In making its key rate decision, the Bank of Russia Board of Directors was guided by the following considerations:
First. Annual inflation continues its decline in line with the Bank of Russia’s baseline forecast; however, this is largely due to temporary factors. Estimates as of 24 October indicate that annual consumer price growth was down to 6.2% from 6.4% seen in September. A meaningful contribution to the inflation reduction is made by the performance of the ruble exchange rate as oil prices have been higher than expected and Russian financial assets are becoming more attractive to external investors. Also, the good harvest helped lower food price growth. The disinflationary impact of domestic demand is however going down, which translates into slower deceleration of non-food product prices. Households have thus far been abiding by a saving-oriented model of behaviour. However, tentative signs of rising real wages may contribute to a gradual recovery in demand for goods and services. The key rate held at the current level long enough is expected to determine monetary conditions further on, which are critical to support incentives to save and shore up the trend towards sustainable inflation reduction, impacted by demand-side constraints. This will enable a further decline in inflation expectations. Considering the decision made and the maintenance of moderately tight monetary policy, the Bank of Russia forecasts that annual inflation will stand at less than 4.5% in October 2017, thereafter reaching the 4% target by late 2017.
Second. The further path of the key rate outlined by the Bank of Russia in September sought to adjust expectations of market participants, who forecast faster key rate reduction and slower inflation decline than predicted by the Bank of Russia. The announcement shifted the yield curve upwards in the financial market and preserved moderately tight monetary conditions. However, inflation expectations of market actors for late 2017 hold above the Bank of Russia’s 4% inflation target. The correction of the level of interest rates in the financial market was responsible for preserving moderately tight monetary conditions, expected to remain in the economy long enough. Positive real interest rates will be held at a level which, while securing demand for credit, will exclude heightened inflationary pressure and keep incentives to save. Tentative signs of recovery in consumer lending do not bear substantial inflation risks so far given that a considerable part of current loans is used to refinance previously extended loans.
Third. The revival of production remains unstable and varies across industries and regions. The Bank of Russia estimates that moderately tight monetary conditions do not hinder economic recovery, with structural factors being the main restrictions. The labour market is adjusting to the new economic environment, and unemployment remains stable and low. Import substitution is progressing and certain items of non-commodity exports show an upward trend. Industry, including high-tech production, finds new growth factors. However, they are still unable to ensure that overall production dynamics remains sustainably positive. At the same time, individual industries are stagnant or show lower output growth. The emerging signs of recovery in investment activity are persistently weak. Positive trends need time to develop and root. The year 2016 will see an overall 0.5-0.7% drop in the output of goods and services, while the fourth quarter is expected to post a slight quarterly growth. In 2017, economic growth will be low (under 1%). This forecast is based on conservative assumptions about low growth of the global economy, average oil prices of about $40 per barrel, moderate capital outflow, and persistent structural restrictions of Russian economic development.
Fourth. Risks remain that the 4% inflation target may not be reached in 2017. This mainly results from inertial inflation expectations, possible weakening of households’ propensity to save, and higher real wages not supported with a rise in labour productivity. No legislative decision has yet been taken with regard to specific medium-term fiscal consolidation measures, including the indexation of wages in the public sector and social benefits. Volatility of global commodity and financial markets may also have a negative impact on exchange rate and inflation expectations.
The Bank of Russia estimates that the key rate needs to be maintained at the current level until the end of 2016 and can be cut in 2017 Q1-Q2 to anchor the downward inflation trend. The Bank of Russia will assess inflation risks and compliance of economic performance and inflation with the baseline scenario when it makes its key rate decision in the upcoming months.
The Bank of Russia Board of Directors will hold its next rate review meeting on 16 December 2016. The press release on the Bank of Russia Board’s decision is to be published at 13.30 Moscow time.
Interest rates on the Bank of Russia major operations(% p.a.)
|Purpose||Type of instrument||Instrument||Term||Rate since 14.06.16||Rate since 19.09.16|
|Liquidity provision||Standing facilities||Overnight loans; FX swaps (ruble leg); Lombard loans; REPO||1 day||11.50||11.00|
|Loans secured by gold||1 day||11.50||11.00|
|from 2 to 549 days1||12.00||11.50|
|Loans secured by non-marketable assets or guarantees||1 day||11.50||11.00|
|from 2 to 549 days1||12.25||11.75|
|Open market operations (min bid rates)||Loans secured by non-marketable assets, auctions1||from 1 to 3 weeks2, 3 months, 18 months2||10.75||10.25|
|Lombard credit auctions1,2||36 months||10.75||10.25|
|REPO and FX swap auctions||from 1 to 6 days3, 1 week||
|Liquidity absorption||Open market operations (max bid rates)||Deposit auctions||from 1 to 6 days3, 1 week|
|Standing facilities||Deposit operations||1 day, call||9.50||9.00|
|Memo item: Refinancing rate4|
1 Loans provided at a floating interest rate, linked to the Bank of Russia key rate.
2 Starting from 01.07.2016 auctions were discontinued.
3 Fine-tuning operations.
4 Starting from 1 January 2016 the refinancing rate was set equal to the Bank of Russia key rate set as of the respective date. Starting from 1 January 2016, the independent value of the refinancing rate will not be set.
Refinancing rate values prior to 01.01.2016
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