Russia holds rate

MOSCOW: Russia’s Central Bank has unexpectedly decided to hold its key interest rate at 11 per cent. The bank said in a statement on Friday that it decided to keep the rate unchanged because risks of high inflation persist. Russia has not changed the key rate since July when it cut it to 11 per cent, bowing to the pressure of businesses to make lending more accessible. Russian monetary officials are having to choose between cutting the interest rate, thus helping Russian companies, and keeping it on hold to cushion the rouble’s fall and stem inflation. High inflation, at 16 per cent in October, has been spurred by a falling rouble and Russia’s ban on agricultural imports from the European Union and other countries.