February 7, 2020 / 12:19 PM / 19 days ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Quotes from Russian central bank chief's news conference

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MOSCOW, Feb 7 (Reuters) - The following are highlights from Russian central bank chief Elvira Nabiullina’s news conference following the bank’s interest rate decision:

NEXT RATE DECISION

“The phrase [about the next policy meeting] means there is a relatively high probability of a rate cut at the next meeting, but it’s not guaranteed.”

“Whether there can be another lowering of the rate depends on how we assess the economic situation, what data will come to light, what happens with inflation, and not only with the current inflation level, but above all how we refine our forecast for inflation and economic growth.”

“When making a decision we certainly take into account current dynamics, but for us the main thing is the forecast about the future dynamics of inflation and economic growth.”

“We expect that, most likely, the peak effect of decisions made up to now will be felt in the second half of this year, in the third to fourth quarter.”

BUDGET SPENDING

“We believe that budget expenditure will be more evenly distributed this year.”

“The government, as we understand it, will act within the budget rule. If there are any future changes to fiscal policy, but everything will take place within the budget rule, then inflationary risks are very limited.”

“As far as linking our foreign exchange purchases with the use of the National Wealth Fund (NWF), we are in close contact with the Ministry of Finance and continue discussing this mechanism.”

“When will these expenses start? In our view, that will be closer to the middle of the year. It is unlikely that it would be earlier.”

OPEC+ DEAL

“This agreement is renewed periodically, its parameters may change and we understand that uncertainty about the agreement exists. That’s why we try to make our forecast conservative, so we have not changed our oil price forecast now.”

NEUTRAL RATE RANGE

“With today’s decision on the key rate, we have reached the lower level of the 6-7% range which we consider to be neutral with the inflation target near 4%.”

“The indicator may change over time under the influence of various factors. We still have to evaluate and, possibly, refine this range. There is not yet enough data for this.”

EXTERNAL FACTORS

“New challenges have emerged, which bring new risks for the growth of the global economy. The situation with coronavirus affects the economies of individual countries and the world as a whole. Talking about Russia, we estimate the impact on our economy at the moment as insignificant.”

INFLATION

“In the first quarter of 2020 inflation will be around 2%, according to our calculations. In the middle of the year it will start to rise, gradually returning to the target level. For the end of 2020, we are keeping the inflation forecast of 3.5-4%.”

“Why do we think that inflation will return to our target? The recovery in domestic demand that began in the second half of the year and its further acceleration this year will be the main factor in returning inflation to its target.” (Compiled by Alexander Marrow, editing by Maria Kiselyova)

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