MOSCOW: Russian president Vladimir Putin called on Monday for immediate measures to support the rouble, Russia’s weakening national currency, in the face of rising inflation, reported dpa news agency.
Of the currency decline, Putin said, “it is necessary to clearly understand its causes and take the appropriate decisions in time, without delay.” The Russian leader made his comments at a government meeting on the state budget, according to the Interfax news agency.
Raising interest rates is a key way to bolster a currency and put a lid on inflation, but the Russian central bank has already increased its key rate to 13% from 12%.
Putin expressed confidence in Russian monetary policy leaders, saying, “I am sure that the central bank is working professionally and – what is important – in a coordinated manner.”
The economy ministry had earlier raised its 2023 inflation forecast from 5.3% to 7.5%.
But the Russian statistics authority has also altered the way it calculates data for 2023, compared to 2022, according to experts, in order to produce lower numbers.
Despite rising inflation, Putin expressed satisfaction with the state of the economy, saying growth had returned to 2021 levels.
Putin predicted Russia’s gross domestic product would rise by 2.5% to 2.8% this year.
“We have withstood absolutely unprecedented pressure from outside, sanctions pressure from some ruling elites in the so-called Western bloc,” he said.
The Western sanctions are a result of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine ordered by Putin in February 2022, which he calls a “special military operation.”
Putin has often called the sanctions the West’s war against Russia.