The directive may increase the pressure on central bank Governor
Elvira Nabiullina to soften the bank's tough anti-inflationary
policy. The bank has resisted cuts in its key policy rate for over a
year despite an abrupt economic slowdown.
However, the phrasing of Putin's order, one of several issued to
governmental bodies for implementation this year, suggests that he
wants the central bank to come up with a targeted scheme.
The order recommends the bank to work on "stimulating a lowering of
the level of interest rates on rouble loans provided to
organizations active in the productive sphere".
It did not elaborate further, except to say that Nabiullina is
responsible for presenting proposals by September 1.
Russian policymakers have long been concerned by the small role of
manufacturing in an economy heavily dependent on commodity exports.
While many Russian companies complain of high borrowing costs, the
central bank has insisted that lowering policy interest rates would
be counter-productive at present, fuelling inflation without
boosting long-term economic growth.
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But the central bank has said it favors improving the link between
policy rates and actual borrowing costs, implying a convergence in
high lending costs faced by companies with the much lower rates
charged on central bank loans to banks.
Although the bank's key lending rate is 5.5 percent, below
inflation, the average interest rate on loans to companies is almost
twice as high at around 10 percent.
(Reporting by Jason Bush; editing by
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