September 30, 2019 / 1:22 PM / 4 months ago

Russia seen cutting rate further in 2019 as inflation slows: Reuters poll

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is expected to cut interest rates further this year amid slowing inflation and sluggish economic growth, a monthly Reuters poll showed on Monday.

The central bank is seen cutting its key interest rate to 6.75% in the fourth quarter of 2019, according to a consensus forecast of 20 analysts and economist polled in late September.

The previous poll published in late August predicted that the central bank would lower the key rate to 6.75% only in the first quarter of 2020.

Expectations for a rate cut have been underpinned by the central bank itself, who trimmed the key rate to 7.00% this month due to slowing inflation, its key area of responsibility.

The next rate-setting meetings this year are scheduled for Oct. 25 and Dec. 13.

The latest poll showed that inflation in Russia is seen at 4.2% in 2019, below the previous estimate of 4.3% last month. The central bank aims at keeping inflation near its 4% target.

Economic growth forecasts for this year have not changed from a month earlier. Experts predicted that the Russian oil-dependent economy would expand by 1.0% in 2019, down from 2.3% in 2018.

Most of the forecasts in the Reuters poll are based on at least 10 individual projections.

The rouble outlook has not changed much from a month ago. In the 12 months from now, the rouble is expected to trade at 65.60 to the dollar and 74.40 to the euro. The previous poll foresaw exchange rates of 66.00 and 76.00, respectively.

On Monday, the rouble’s official exchange rates, set by the central bank, were 64.42 per dollar and 70.32 per euro, with the Russian currency heading toward three-week lows versus the dollar as fears over a widening of the China-U.S trade war kept investors in safe harbors.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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