Kazakhstan: Central Bank holds base rate steady at 9.25% in first meeting of the year
January 14, 2019
At its 14 January monetary policy meeting, the National Bank of Kazakhstan kept the base rate at 9.25%, with an interest rate corridor of plus or minus 1.0 percentage point.
Stable inflation throughout the final quarter, lower inflation expectations, and healthy economic activity prompted the Bank to stay put. Inflation remained at a more than three-year low of 5.3% for the third consecutive month in December, staying close to the lower boundary of the Bank’s 5.0%–7.0% target band, with some economic slack helping inflation to moderate. Despite a sharp fall in oil prices over the period, economic activity continued to grow at a healthy pace, thanks to a boost in oil production and robust domestic demand dynamics. While inflation is expected to remain within the new target range of 4.0%–6.0%, the main risk to the inflation outlook continues to stem from uncertainty surrounding future oil prices.
In terms of forward guidance, the Bank indicated a more hawkish stance on a weakening in the tenge and signaled the possibility of a rate hike in the next meeting, which is scheduled for 4 March.