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UPDATE 1-Belarus keeps rates unchanged, says not ready for monetary easing in 2021

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MOSCOW, Nov 11 (Reuters) - The Belarusian central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged at 7.75% on Wednesday at its final rate-setting meeting of the year and said it would not be ready to ease monetary policy in 2021 with inflation above the 5% target.

Governor Pavel Kallaur said inflation, driven by temporary factors such as the Belarusian rouble’s weakening in August, was seen slowing to around 6% at the end of 2020, before reaching 5% by the end of 2021. Inflation last stood at 6.2%.

The rouble fell sharply in August after President Alexander Lukashenko won a disputed election that the opposition said was rigged, leading to nationwide protests which are still ongoing more than three months later.

“The factors underlying the acceleration of inflation are temporary in character,” said Kallaur. “Their impact will weaken.”

Kallaur added that the economy should start recovering in the second half of 2021.

The next rate-setting meeting is scheduled for Feb. 12, 2021. (Reporting by Moscow Newsroom; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Alex Richardson and Edmund Blair)

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