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Comment by Yuri Soloviev, First Deputy President and Chairman of the Management Board of VTB Bank, for Dow Jones (USA)

10 April 2013

Russia's Central Bank Likely to Cut Rates Again This Year -VTB Executive

By Ira Iosebashvili

Russia's central bank is likely to cut rates again this year, a top official at the country's second-largest lender, VTB Bank, said Tuesday.

"I think they will have as many as one or two rate cuts," VTB First Deputy President Yuri Soloviev told journalists on the sidelines of the VTB Capital Investment Forum in New York.

Grappling with both above-target inflation and waning economic growth, the central bank has been under pressure from the country's economy ministry to lower rates to spur lending and support the economy.

The Bank of Russia kept its key lending rates unchanged earlier last week but trimmed long-term lending rates to lower borrowing costs and hinted at more monetary easing this year.

Mr. Soloviev said he was "positively surprised" by the choice of former economy minister Elvira Nabiullina to replace the current central bank chairman, Sergei Ignatyev, when his term ends in June.

"She is a very experienced professional. We expect that she will take a softer view on the Russian economy than the current administration," Mr. Soloviev said.

Mr. Ignatyev has been criticized by some government officials for battling Russia's chronically high inflation at the expense of economic growth. 

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