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Key events are weekly CPI for 19-25 March

The only important macro data releases this week are the weekly CPI on Wednesday and the CBR’s final estimate of the balance of payments in 4Q12 on 29 March.
This week is fairly light in terms of data releases. However, the CPI dynamics in March are critical for the CBR’s next monetary policy decision (scheduled for the first half of in April). Since the beginning of this year, the key CPI growth drivers have been gasoline, potatoes and vodka. In our view, all these prices are to increase more and more modestly in the weeks to come.

Hence, we shall be looking carefully at the forthcoming weekly CPI report, which will likely show that the deceleration in YoY price growth has intensified, thereby supporting our forecast of the first easing step in April. It is worth noting that the downside risks to growth have heightened (given MinEconomy’s estimate of GDP growth stalling in February, IP growth contracting and retail sales growth at its 3-year low) which might prompt the regulator to cut rates, whereas some upside risks to inflation expectations could remain.

Maxim Oreshkin, Daria Isakova
VTB Capital analyst


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