FILE PHOTO: Elvira Nabiullina, Governor of Russia’s Central Bank, speaks during an interview in Moscow, Russia, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina//File Photo

March 18, 2022

(Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed to nominate central bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina for another term, a document on the Lower House of Parliament’s website showed on Friday.

The Lower House of Parliament, or Duma, will consider the proposal on March 21, the document said.

A surprise appointment in 2013, 58-year-old Nabiullina, an economist and former advisor to Putin, is the first woman to chair the central bank, one of Russia’s most respected institutions.

Her current term ends in June and the rules say Putin must nominate her or another candidate by March 24.

The central bank is expected to hold its key interest rate unchanged at 20% on Friday after a sharp emergency rate hike in late February designed to support financial stability, according to a Reuters poll of analysts.

On Friday, Nabiullina is due to read out a monetary policy statement at 1200 GMT after the rate decision due at 1030 GMT, without taking questions.

The central bank raised the key rate from 9.5% on Feb. 28 as the rouble crashed to record lows and people rushed to withdraw money from banks following an unprecedented barrage of Western sanctions against Russia for what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

An independent survey of analysts requested by the central bank this month forecast inflation of 20% and an 8% economic contraction this year and predicted the key interest rate would average 18.9% in 2022.

Before the wider military conflict between Russia and Ukraine broke out in February, the central bank revised its year-end inflation forecast to 5.0-6.0%, giving up on earlier hopes that it would slow to 4.0-4.5%.

Back then, it expected inflation to reach its 4% target in mid-2023. The central bank is yet to present its updated forecasts.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Jason Neely and Tomasz Janowski)

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