Russia lifts deposit interest rate unexpectedly

AP News
Posted: May 30, 2011 12:20 PM

Russia on Monday unexpectedly raised its deposit interest rate by 0.25 percentage points to 3.5 percent in a bid to curb inflation.

Russia's Central Bank said in a statement that the new deposit rate would take effect Tuesday, while other rates including the benchmark refinancing rate would remain unchanged.

The bank said the decision was taken to address inflation fears "and risks for sustainable growth."

The move was a surprise after Central Bank chief Sergei Ignatyev said last week it was "in no hurry" to raise rates.

Although inflation slowed somewhat in May, it is still at 9.7 percent, far above the government's target of 7 percent.

The Central Bank raised its refinancing rate from 8 percent to 8.25 percent late April.

The refinancing rate concerns bank lending, while the deposit rate affects the broader economy.

Ignatyev told Russian news agencies Monday that Russia's decision to lift the ban on grain exports is the only real threat to the bank's efforts to curb inflation.