March 5, 2020 / 10:33 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Uzbek cenbank holds rate, cites coronavirus uncertainty

(Adds details)

TASHKENT, March 5 (Reuters) - Uzbekistan’s central bank kept its policy rate unchanged at 16.0% on Thursday, it said, citing external uncertainty due to the coronavirus outbreak and the expected effects of price liberalisation for a number of goods and services.

The bank said in a statement that it was concerned, in particular, about disruptions in the supply of consumer goods from China which could drive up inflation.

“The impact of the ‘coronavirus effect’ is expected to be one-off and short-term,” it said, adding that Chinese goouds would eventually be replaced by supplies from other countries.

In another move that could stoke inflation, the Central Asian nation plans to gradually raise utility prices, which have for a long time remained artificially low and failed to encourage energy savings.

The bank will next review its rate on April 23. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov Editing by Gareth Jones)

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