January CPI figures are due out this week, the last important report to be taken into account before the CBR makes its interest rates decision. Given that the most recent weekly CPI release implies 0.8% growth in 1-28 January, we believe that the full-month reading will be at 1.0% MoM and 7.1% YoY on the back of one-off factors. Moreover, we believe the upcoming CPI report will confirm the ongoing trend of diminishing underlying inflation pressures (which can be seen in VTBC core CPI dynamics). Weak GDP growth in late 2012 and a YoY decline of investment spending might push the CBR to take a more dovish stance and voice more pronounced concerns over Russia’s economic outlook. Nevertheless, we believe that the regulator will stay on hold until headline CPI reaches its highs, in other words we are expecting to see the first easing steps as early as March-April.
Among other important things to watch this week are:
- Services PMI is set to give the first indications of how the sector performed in January.
- Weekly CPI is set to show a further slowdown in weekly price growth.