While removing guidance from its statement that rates were at an appropriate level for the nearest future, the central bank said it was waiting for clearer signs that inflation expectations were falling enough to meet medium-term targets. The central bank isnt terribly concerned about the weak pace of growth, Vladimir Kolychev, chief economist for Russia at VTB Capital in Moscow, said by phone. Before the central bank starts reducing rates, it needs to see a reduction in inflation expectations. The ruble remained little changed against the dollar following the announcement, trading at 32.2800 per U.S. currency as of 6:48 p.m. in Moscow. Russia s ruble bonds due in February 2027 fell, increasing the yield six basis points, or 0.06 percentage point, to 7.73 percent. Easing Ahead The three-month MosPrime rate, which the largest Moscow banks say they charge one another, may decline 17 basis points over the next three months, according to forward-rate agreements tracked by Bloomberg. Thats down from as much as 56 basis points on Aug. 8. Leaving the key rate unchanged, the central bank placed 500 billion rubles in three-month loans backed by non-marketable assets, the regulator said in a separate website statement. All the funds were placed at a cutoff rate of 5.76 percent while 25 banks submitted bids at yields ranging from the minimum rate of 5.75 percent to 6.65 percent.
Russia denies bail for Greenpeace U.S. captain, foreign activist
Captain Peter Willcox and Greenpeace activist Camila Speziale, 21, who has Italian and Argentinian citizenship, had appealed against an order that they be held in pre-trial detention through late November. Decisions on Arctic Sunrise crew members Cristian D’Alessandro of Italy and David John Haussmann of New Zealand were expected later on Monday. A court in the northern port city of Murmansk has already denied bail to two Britons and four Russians held for the Sept. 18 protest in which activists tried to scale the Prirazlomnaya oil rig and security forces later boarded the Greenpeace ship. The piracy charges, punishable by up to 15 years’ jail, appear aimed at sending a message that Moscow will not tolerate attempts to disrupt its development of the resource-rich Arctic. Other countries and firms seeking to exploit Arctic energy resources face similar concerns from environmentalists, who fear they will destroy a pristine eco-system. Willcox, 60, a veteran campaigner who was at the helm of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior when it was bombed and sunk by the French secret service in 1985, denied the charges against him in court. “I have been doing this for 40 years and never faced a charge like this,” the state-run Russian news agency RIA quoted him as saying. “If I could start everything over, I would stay in New York.” Greenpeace says the protest at the rig owned by state-controlled Russian energy company Gazprom was peaceful and calls the piracy charges absurd and unfounded. “He is a hero not a pirate,” Willcox’s wife, Maggie, said in a statement. “I appeal to the common sense and conscience of the Russian authorities to let my husband and the rest of the people from the Arctic Sunrise come home.” President Vladimir Putin has said the activists were not pirates but that they had violated international law. The head of the Kremlin’s human rights advisory body has said he would ask prosecutors to withdraw the piracy charges. Investigators have said more charges will be pressed against some protesters after drugs and other suspect items were found on the ship.
OAO Magnit, the nations largest food retailer, traded up 1.2 percent at 8,460 rubles. OAO Gazprom, the natural gas export monopoly, increased 1.5 percent to 155 rubles. OAO Sberbank, the countrys biggest lender, added 0.8 percent to 103.85 rubles. Democrat and Republican Senate leaders made reference to progress in talks on a deal to suspend the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and fund the government through Jan. 15. The U.S. will not default, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said in Seoul today. Crude, Russias main export earner, was steady at $102.37 in New York. The market has received good news that theres been progress in U.S. government talks, Alexander Kostyukov, an analyst at Veles Capital, said by phone from Moscow. A U.S. default would be devastating for investors appetite for riskier markets, like Russia . Russian equities have the cheapest valuations among 21 emerging economies monitored by Bloomberg, with shares on the index trading at 4.5 times projected 12-month earnings, compared with a multiple of 10.7 for the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.