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MOSCOW: Russia's central bank raised its key interest rate by 50 basis points to 5.5% on Friday and said more hikes would be needed to rein in high inflation.

After slashing the rate to a record low of 4.25% last year during the Covid-19 pandemic, the central bank has now raised it three times in 2021 to slow inflation that shot above its target in November and is on track to accelerate further.

"Our main task is to normalise the price growth rates," Governor Elvira Nabiullina said.

She said the board had considered an even bigger rise of 75 or 100 basis points and that another rate hike was highly probable when they next meet on July 23.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast the key rate would rise from 5% to 5.5%, its highest since April 2020.

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