Vladimir Putin hit with major blow from Russian bank after war effort backfires

Russia‘s central bank delivered a significant blow to Vladimir Putin‘s administration, announcing that interest rates would remain high for an extended period.

The decision comes as Putin’s war effort threatens to exacerbate inflationary pressures in the country.

Despite calls for a rate cut to stimulate the economy, the Bank of Russia opted to keep interest rates steady at 16 percent for the third consecutive meeting.

However, it revised its forecast for the average key policy rate for the year, raising it from 13.5-15.5 percent to a range of 15-16 percent.

The central bank also adjusted its inflation forecast, acknowledging the challenges of meeting its 4 percent target. It now anticipates inflation to range between 4.3-4.8 percent, up from the previous projection of 4-4.5 percent.

In a statement released alongside the decision, the Bank of Russia emphasised the need to maintain “tight monetary conditions” in the economy for an extended period.

This move reflects concerns about the potential inflationary impact of the ongoing conflict.

Nicholas Farr, an economist specialising in emerging Europe at Capital Economics, commented on the central bank’s decision.

He noted: “While we expect inflation to peak at around 8 percent in the middle of this year, the backdrop of strong economic growth and loose fiscal policy mean that the Bank of Russia’s inflation forecast still looks too optimistic.”

Farr highlighted policymakers’ inclination to keep real interest rates elevated to mitigate inflationary risks.

He adjusted his expectations for interest rate cuts, now predicting the first cut to occur in September, down from the previous forecast of July. Additionally, he anticipates a total reduction of 300 basis points in interest rates for the year, down from the earlier projection of 600 basis points.

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