Russia Cuts Key Interest Rate As Coronavirus And Oil Price Plunge Take Hold

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The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) on Friday cut its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 5.5%.

The move comes as the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and a historic plunge in oil prices of late pose unprecedented threats to the Russian economy.

As of Friday morning, Russia has confirmed more than 65,000 cases of the coronavirus, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told CNBC earlier this week that the country, and President Vladimir Putin, faces a “very problematic” situation.

The Russian economy is expected to contract by 1.4% in 2020 as low oil demand and citywide lockdowns continue to weigh, while the central bank anticipates that inflation will exceed its 4% target this year.

This marks Russia’s seventh rate cut in the past year. Prior to holding the rate steady at 6% in March, the central bank had issued six consecutive cuts.


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