Russia sanctions ramp up chance of bigger central bank rate hike - Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan

LONDON, April 16 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley said it now expected Russia’s central bank to raise interest rates by 50 basis points next Friday following U.S. sanctions on the country’s sovereign debt market.

Washington on Thursday blacklisted Russian companies, expelled Russian diplomats and barred U.S. banks from buying sovereign bonds from Russia’s central bank, national wealth fund and Finance Ministry, to punish Moscow for election interference, cyber hacking and bullying Ukraine.

Russia denies the allegations.

“Despite the muted market reaction so far and hence minor implications for inflation, we think that the CBR (Russia’s central bank) would want to give extra support to the market,” Alina Slyusarchuk at Morgan Stanley said in a note to clients.

“We now see the probability shifting towards a 50bp hike to 5.00% at the next meeting on April 23,” she said, adding she had previously expected a smaller hike.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan also said the risk of Russia’s central bank hiking its policy rate by 50 bps rather than 25 bps had increased with the new sanctions.

“On the monetary policy front, since the new sanctions open a new chapter in using financial sanctions against Russia, risk premia in Russian local currency assets may remain elevated for longer, which may ultimately lift CBR’s assessment of a neutral policy rate,” said Saad Siddiqui at JPMorgan in a note to clients. (Reporting by Karin Strohecker; Editing by Toby Chopra)