Russia Cuts Key Interest Rate For Third Time This Year

By Rachel Koning Beals Markets MarketWatch Pulse

The Russian central bank cut its key interest rate by 25 basis points on Friday and pledged potential additional easing this year even as it bumped up its economic view. The central bank trimmed the benchmark rate to 9.00% from 9.25%, its third rate cut this year. "The Board notes that inflation is close to the target, inflation expectations keep declining and economic activity is recovering," its statement read. The bank also said there is room to cut rates again in the second half of 2017, though it will "assess inflation risks, the inflation dynamics and economic developments against the forecast." The central bank increased its economic growth forecast to 1.3%-1.8% in 2017 from 1%-1.5% in an earlier forecast. The ruble firmed briefly to 57.59 versus the dollar compared with a level of 57.7 seen shortly before the rate decision.

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