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Tajikistan raises rate 3rd time amid rising inflation

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     Tajikistan’s central bank raised its key interest rate for the third time this year, saying this move is in response to growing inflationary pressure and expectations, and aims to return inflation to its target range.
     The National Bank of Tajikistan (NBT) raised its refinancing rate by another 100 basis points to 13.0 percent and has now raised it 2.25 percentage points following earlier rate hikes in February and April.
     NBT is one of only three central banks, along with the Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, to have raised rates in the months leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic, but then quickly switched course as the global economy practically shut down and cut its rate twice to soften the impact.
     But by late January this year inflationary pressures were beginning to build and the central bank’s first move was to raise reserve requirements and then followed this up with rate hikes.
     Tajikistan is the 4th central bank to raise its rates this week to curb inflation – following Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Hungary – and so far this year 20 central banks have raised their rates 36 times.
     NBT noted the global economy recovered rapidly in the first half of this year with the continued easy monetary policy by central banks in developed economies leading to a shortage of goods and raw materials in global markets, boosting prices and thus inflationary pressures and inflationary expectations.
     The rise in prices of goods imported to Tajikistan has boosted inflation at the same time that economic activity has recovered rapidly from the pandemic, the bank added.
     Inflation in the Central Asian republic, which borders China, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, rose to 9.0 percent in June after easing to just above 8 percent in April and May from over 9 percent in the months from November through March.
     NBT targets inflation of 7.0 percent, plus/minus 2 percentage points.
     The central bank said the rise in inflation was mainly due to higher prices for basic necessities, such as meat, vegetable oil, potatoes, carrots, sugar and other products that are influenced by seasons, demand and supply. 
     With the level of aggregate demand worldwide expected to continue to improve, despite the continued spread of the pandemic, along with a recovery of the domestic economy, the central bank expects inflationary pressures to rise.


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