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Russia's Putin, before central bank meeting, calls to restrain inflation

·1-min read

MOSCOW, April 21 (Reuters) - Russian financial authorities must maintain macroeconomic stability and restrain inflation, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, days before the central bank meets for the key rate decision.

Russia's consumer price index rose 5.8% in March in year-on-year terms, its highest reading in nearly five years, and the central bank has already started to raise rates as it tries to return to its 4% inflation goal by mid-2022.

Putin praised the government and the central bank for maintaining public-finance stability last year, despite a drop in oil prices and higher spending to fight the coronavirus pandemic, saying that "responsible financial policy" should be continued.

"Securing macroeconomic stability and restraining inflation in the given parameters is a task of high importance and I presume that it will be completed," Putin said in his annual address to the nation.

Rising consumer prices eat deeper into Russian living standards, something which Putin again promised to improve in his address on Wednesday - a sensitive issue before parliamentary elections this autumn.

Most of the analysts polled by Reuters believe that the central bank will raise its key interest rate on Friday by 25 basis points. Some see a 50-basis-point increase following fresh U.S. sanctions. (Reporting by Katya Golubkova)