Russia’s central bank will hold its main lending rate at 17 percent when it meets on Friday, even though the economy is likely to contract by 4.2 percent this year, a Reuters poll predicted on Thursday.
The bank jacked the rate up in mid-December at an emergency meeting provoked by a run on the rouble, as sliding oil prices and Western sanctions linked to the Ukraine conflict sparked financial turmoil.
An escalation of fighting in eastern Ukraine is adding to the economic pressures, with the European Union warning this week that further sanctions against Russia are planned.
“The economy is heading toward a recession in 2015,” said ING economist Dmitry Polevoy. “Double-digit inflation is another evil that is not likely to ease its grip quickly.”
Out of 12 analysts polled by Reuters, 11 expected the central bank to hold its key rate this month, with one predicting a one-point cut.
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