Russia raises interest rates as sanctions and falling oil prices take hold

The Bank of Russia increased its key interest rate to 10.5% on Thursday, to help spur the economy amid sanctions and sliding oil prices. The bank raised the rate from the previous figure of 9.5%. It confirmed it would also continue to raise the rate even higher if inflation continues to accelerates. The central bank predicted inflation reaching 10% by year’s end due to the plunging value of the rouble. It said it now expects growth to be flat through to 2016. It cited depreciation of the currency and the “external conditions” of Western sanctions and sliding oil prices.

Annual GDP growth is expected to be close to zero in 2015-2016.

Bank of Russia statement