Kazakhstan’s Central Bank Keeps Refinancing Rate at 7.5%

Oct. 12. Bloomberg

By Nariman Gizitdinov

Kazakhstan’s Central Bank Keeps Refinancing Rate at 7.5%Kazakhstan left its main refinancing rate unchanged as price pressures dissipate, bringing inflation closer to the central bank’s target range.

The National Bank of Kazakhstan left the benchmark rate at 7.5 percent, effective Oct. 1, the Almaty-based regulator said in an e-mailed statement today. Inflation decelerated to a three-month low of 8.7 percent last month from a year earlier, compared with 9 percent in August.

The biggest energy producer in central Asia has kept borrowing costs unchanged since March, when it raised rates for the first time in 17 months to cap price growth. The central bank won’t revise its 2011 target range of 6 percent to 8 percent after the “lower-than-expected” inflation level in September, Chairman Grigori Marchenko told reporters in Almaty today. Consumer-price growth has so far breached the target range every month this year.

“The National Bank is likely to concentrate its efforts on stimulating credit,” BNP Paribas SA economists led by Julia Tsepliaeva in Moscow said in an e-mailed report today. “We do not expect any change in rates for the next 9 to 12 months.”

The tenge lost 1 percent last month against the dollar for its biggest monthly drop since February 2009 and traded little changed today at 147.97 per dollar, Bloomberg data show.

The authorities would consider devaluing the tenge if the Russian ruble depreciates to 40 per U.S. currency, Marchenko said today. The ruble was 1.4 percent stronger at 31.1125 per dollar at the 7 p.m. close in Moscow.

Kazakhstan, a member of a customs union with Russia and Belarus, plans to enter a common economic space with its two trade partners next year.