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ALMATY: Kazakhstan's central bank will most likely keep its policy rate unchanged at 10.25 percent for the rest of this year, a senior bank official said on Tuesday, as the regulator raised its economic growth forecast.

"We will return to the question of whether to cut the rate next year," Vitaly Tutushkin, head of the central bank's research and statistics department, told reporters.

The Central Asian nation's regulator surprised the market by cutting the policy rate 25 basis points on Monday. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the bank to hold the rate this week and reduce it later in the year.

The bank has cited declining inflation expectations as the reason for Monday's cut, but warned that uncertain and volatile external conditions made further cuts less likely in the near term.

On Tuesday, Tutushkin said this meant that the probability of the rate remaining unchanged was "very high" for the remainder of this year.

Separately, the central bank said on Tuesday it has raised its outlook for 2017 gross domestic product growth to 3.1 percent from 2.8 percent, based on faster-than-expected recovery so far this year and higher oil output estimates.

Oil is Kazakhstan's main export and the bank's outlook is based on the average Brent crude price of $50 per barrel, it said. The bank has raised Kazakhstan's 2017 oil output forecast to 84.5 million tonnes from 81.0 million tonnes.

 

Copyright Reuters, 2017
 

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