Kazakhstan: Central Bank hikes base rate for the third consecutive meeting in October
At its meeting in late October, the National Bank of Kazakhstan (NBK) decided to raise the base rate by 25 basis points to 9.75%, marking the third consecutive hike since late July. Meanwhile, the corridor was kept at plus or minus 1.0 percentage point.
The decision marked a continued attempt to curb increasing inflationary pressures, which have been felt across all consumer product groups, with food products contributing the most. Notably, in recent months inflation has reached levels not seen since early 2017, climbing from 7.9% in June to 8.9% in September. Meanwhile, the Bank’s estimates show the economy performed well over the first nine months of the year, providing it with room to tighten its policy stance.
In its forward guidance, the Bank maintained a hawkish tone, stressing that it intends to continue the normalization of policy to bring inflation back to its target range of 4.0%–6.0% in 2022.
Artem Zaigrin, chief economist at SOVA Capital, sees another hike by year-end:
“The NBK did not provide a clear signal about its plans for the base rate, but it did stress the necessity to bring inflation into the CPI corridor of 4.0%–6.0% yoy by end-2022. We doubt that CPI will reach the NBK’s forecasted range of 7.5%–8.5% yoy by end-2021 (we expect 8.8% yoy). As for upcoming policy decisions, the main issues are the efficiency of anti-inflationary measures and their effects on food prices. The elevated pressures are likely to make the NBK raise the base rate another 25bps in December.”
The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled to take place on 6 December.