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ALMATY, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s central bank kept its policy rate unchanged at 9.25% on Monday and said it could loosen its stance later this year if the government manages to tame food price growth and inflation slows in line with expectations.
Annual inflation in the Central Asian nation accelerated to 5.6% in January from 5.4% a month earlier, and was largely driven by food prices. Meat prices, in particular, have jumped against the background of shortages in neighbouring China.
Inflationary risks will persist in the short-term following a hike in gasoline excise tax and some utility tariffs, the bank said in a statement.
The central bank aims to keep the consumer price index within the 4% to 6% range. It will next review the policy rate on March 16, the bank said in a statement. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Alison Williams and Peter Graff)