NBU hikes key policy rate to 6.5%
The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) announced on Mar. 4 that it decided to hike the key policy rate by 0.5 pp to 6.5% at its monetary policy board meeting that day. It has stayed unchanged since June. This decision aims to return consumer inflation to the target range under the renewal of both Ukraine’s and the world economy.
In January, consumer inflation sped up to 6.1% yoy. According to preliminary NBU estimations, consumer inflation further intensified in February, exceeding the regulator's forecast. At the same time, core inflation mostly corresponded to the NBU’s expectations.
The NBU expects inflation to peak in the middle of 2021. Then, it should start cooling, and it will return to the target range in 1H22. IMF cooperation is a major assumption behind the central bank’s forecast. Financing from the IMF and other international partners is critical for executing public expenditures and providing economic incentives. The major risks to the macroeconomic forecast include the reinforcement of quarantine restrictions both in Ukraine and globally.
The central bank noted that it is ready a further hike of the key policy rate to further curtail fundamental inflation pressure, stabilize expectations and return inflation to the target range.
Evgeniya Akhtyrko: The NBU’s decision to hike the key policy rate was in line with our expectations. However, we expect February’s consumer inflation to land at 7.2% yoy, so the new key policy rate is likely to lag behind.
The next revision of the key policy rate is scheduled for Apr. 15. We expect the key policy rate will be hiked by up to 100 bps.