Russian central bank says it needs months to make sure CPI falling before rate cuts -RBC

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank will need two to three months to make sure that inflation is steadily declining before taking any decision on interest rate cuts, the bank’s governor Elvira Nabiullina told RBC media on Sunday.

The central bank raised its key interest rate by 100 basis points to 16% earlier in December, hiking for the fifth consecutive meeting in response to stubborn inflation, and suggested that its tightening cycle was nearly over.

Nabiullina said it was not yet clear when exactly the regulator would start cutting rates, however.

“We really need to make sure that inflation is steadily decreasing, that these are not one-off factors that can affect the rate of price growth in a particular month,” she said.

Nabiullina said the bank was taking into account a wide range of indicators but primarily those that “characterize the stability of inflation”.

“This will take two or three months or more – it depends on how much the wide range of indicators that characterize sustainable inflation declines,” she said.

The bank will next convene to set its benchmark rate on Feb. 16.

The governor also said the bank should have started monetary policy tightening earlier than in July, when it embarked on the rate-hiking cycle.

(Reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)