* Nabiullina says rate cut possible next week
* C.bank will chose between 25 and 50 bps cut
* Nabiullina voices clearest commitment since in governor
(Adds detail, quotes, analysts' comment)
By Darya Korsunskaya and Andrey Ostroukh
MOSCOW, April 20 Russia's central bank is likely
to consider cutting its key interest rate by 25 or 50 basis
points when policymakers meet next week, governor Elvira
Nabiullina said on Thursday.
Her comments were the clearest indication of the bank's
thinking on rates since mid-2013.
Nabiullina told an annual meeting at the finance ministry
that a faster than expected slowdown in inflation had opened the
door for a rate cut at the bank's April 28 meeting.
"I even suppose that at the next board meeting, which will
take place in a week from now, a 25 and 50 basis point rate cut
will be discussed," she said.
Annual inflation has hit a post-Soviet-era low of 4.1
percent, data released on Monday showed, although it remains a
touch higher than the bank's 4 percent target.
Nabiullina's suggestion that the central bank may be ready
for a 50 basis point cut, which would bring the key rate to 9.25
percent, means the pace of monetary easing this year could be
quicker than previously thought.
The central bank, which last cut its key rate to 9.75
percent from 10 percent in March, has previously said that
borrowing costs should remain 2.5-3 percentage points above
inflation to ensure monetary policy remains moderately tight.
"When carrying out monetary policy, we will stick to a
weighed, accurate approach, taking into account risks and
uncertainties, including dynamics of oil prices," Nabiullina
told the gathering at the finance ministry.
The rouble lost a few kopecks to 56.35 versus the dollar
from 56.30 seen shortly before Nabiullina's comments. Rising oil
prices, however, propped up the rouble, sending the dollar to
56.2 as of 1237 GMT.
Her latest comments resemble the practices of the U.S.
Federal Reserve, said Alexander Polyutov, an economist at
"Our central bank has been (aiming) towards global standards
for the past few years. The inflation-targeting policy is to
give signals, provide guidelines ahead of the week of silence,"
Russian central bank officials are not allowed to make any
comment or offer hints on monetary policy for a week ahead of
any rate decision. The next "week of silence" starts at 1030 GMT
Nabiullina also said on Thursday that daily purchases of
dollars had had a limited impact on the rouble and that concerns
about higher inflation had not materialised.
The central bank started buying dollars for the finance
ministry's depleted coffers in February. Sources told Reuters
the purchases went ahead only after the central bank won
assurances it could distance itself from the operations, viewed
as forex interventions by market players.
(Additional reporting by Elena Fabrichnaya; Writing by Andrey
Ostroukh; Editing by Catherine Evans)