Bank of Russia Names Coronavirus as Biggest Threat to Economic Growth

Risks of a significant slowdown in the global economy are still present, and the new coronavirus is the uncertainty factor for the coming quarters, the Bank of Russia said on Friday, according to TASS.

“The risk of a further slowdown in global economic growth persists, including under the influence of geopolitical factors, intensified volatility in global commodity and financial markets, which may affect the exchange rate and inflation expectations. The coronavirus situation will be an additional uncertainty factor over the next quarters,” the Bank of Russia says in a comment.

The central bank slashed the key rate for the sixth time in a row to 6% at its first board meeting this year.

The regulator decided to leave its outlook on Russia’s GDP growth in 2020 at 1.5-2% with a gradual increase to 2-3% in 2022.

“The Bank of Russia has left the 2020-2022 GDP growth forecast unchanged. The GDP growth rate will gradually increase from 1.5-2.0% in 2020 to 2-3% in 2022,” the press release said.

The Chinese authorities registered an outbreak of the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV in the city of Wuhan. Cases of new coronavirus were confirmed in 24 other countries and territories, including in Russia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. According to the latest reports, over 31,300 cases of new coronavirus were confirmed in China, the death toll climbed to 636, and over 1,500 people recover from the virus.