The Bank of Russia announced on 11 February that it will raise its base interest rate from 8.5 percent to 9.5 in its ongoing attempt to lasso inflation, which edged up from 8.4 percent in December to 8.7 percent in January.
The bank has raised its rate seven times in the past year, first moving it from 4.25 to 4.5 percent last March, with little success in taming price increases. We tracked the increases in articles such as “Russia Boosts Interest Rate” (23 Mar 2021), “Russia Raises Interest Rate to Tamp Down Inflation” (15 Jun 2021), and “Russia Boosts Interest Rate to 6.5 Percent” (27 Jul 2021).
If Russia invades Ukraine, western sanctions will weaken the ruble and drive inflation higher, The Wall Street Journal noted.
Yields on Russia’s government bonds have risen in recent days, reflecting a “geopolitical premium,” bank governor Elvira Nabiullina told a press briefing cited by the WSJ.
Even if sanctions are not imposed, the bank could raise rates again due to rising wages in Russia’s tight jobs market, she said.
TRENDPOST: Russia’s central bank has raised rates seven times and still not gotten a grip on inflation. That does not bode well for the U.S. Federal Reserve’s ability to beat back price growth with the Fed starting when U.S. inflation already is at 7.5 percent after a year-long running start.