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Russian CB to Consider Rate Hike of Up to 100 bps in Dec

MOSCOW, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank will consider raising its key interest rate by up to 100 basis points at its next rate-setting meeting on Dec. 17, Governor Elvira Nabiullina said on Tuesday, as stubbornly high inflation was close to exceeding forecasts.

The Bank of Russia has raised its key rate six times this year, lifting it from a record low of 4.25%, as inflation, its main area of responsibility, accelerated to a five-year high above 8%.

Nabiullina said the central bank, which raised the key rate by 50 basis points to 7.5% at its last board meeting in October, has indicated the key rate could be raised by between 0 and 100 basis points by the year-end.

"We will be considering the decision within this range. But it needs to be said that the inflation forecast now is close to the upper boundary of our forecast. We will take this into account," Nabiullina told reporters, referring to the December rate-setting meeting.

The central bank has expected inflation, which it targets at 4%, to finish this year at 7.4-7.9%. Inflation was last seen at 8.05% as of Nov. 22.

Nabiullina also said recent volatility in the rouble, which lost 8% of its value against the dollar in just four weeks, was not the reason for suspending daily forex purchases for state coffers as part of the budget rule.

Analysts did not rule out that the central bank could consider suspending FX buying to ease pressure on the rouble, the weakening of which threatens to boost inflation even higher.

Russians are scared of rising prices and Russia plans to hold its key rate above 6% until at least mid-2023 to bring inflation back down, the central bank has said.

Nabiullina said holding rates at the December board meeting was the least possible scenario. Earlier on Tuesday, she said it was premature to speak of lowering the 4% inflation target in the future.

Economy Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said lowering the target would require even tighter monetary policy which would likely have negative consequences.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Additional reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Alexander Marrow, editing by Ed Osmond

Source: Reuters

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