Kazakhstan central bank seen holding policy rate unchanged: Reuters poll

ALMATY (Reuters) - Kazakhstan's central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate KZCBIR=ECI unchanged at 9.00% on Monday after a pick-up in inflation last month, a Reuters poll showed.

Seven of nine analysts polled this week predicted no change at the Oct. 26 meeting. Two forecast a cut to 8.75%.

The central bank cut the rate by 50 basis points in July as Kazakhstan entered its second national lockdown amid a novel coronavirus flare-up; it lifted the lockdown in mid-August. The bank kept the rate unchanged in a September review.

Annual inflation stood at 7.0% in September, the same rate as in August, but it accelerated to 0.3% from 0.1% month-on-month.

“Short-term inflationary risks have become more pronounced in recent months, which may put an end to the previously observed trend towards slowing inflation in the food segment,” said Aigul Berdigulova, an analyst at the Eurasian Development Bank.

“With that in mind, we think the central bank is going to keep the rate at 9.0% until the end of this year in order to anchor inflationary expectations near its target.”

Kazakhstan raised spending amid the pandemic which also put pressure on the price of oil, the Central Asian nation’s main export. It has approved an additional $556 million in COVID-19-related spending this month.

Reporting by Mariya Gordeyeva; writing by Olzhas Auyezov; editing by Larry King