Russian cbank lowers mid-term growth forecasts, warns on weaker rouble

MOSCOW Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:14am EST

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MOSCOW Feb 18 (Reuters) - Russia's central bank said on Tuesday the country's economic growth rate may reach the level of 1.7 to 2.0 percent in 2015-16.

The forecast, in a quarterly monetary policy report, implies a downward revision compared with its earlier predictions. It said in the previous quarterly report that it saw Russia's medium-term growth potential as 2-2.5 percent.

The bank predicted this year's growth at between 1.5 and 1.8 percent, down from a forecast of 2 percent made last quarter.

The bank expected that the Sochi Winter Olympics would provide a boost to growth in the first quarter, which it estimated at 0.3 percentage points.

It also predicted negative conditions on international capital markets for Russian borrowers in 2014, linked to investor aversion to emerging market assets as a result of the U.S. Federal Reserve winding down its monetary stimulus. (Reporting by Jason Bush and Oksana Kobzeva, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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