Russia cuts rates as rouble rallies

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The Russian central bank has cut interest rates by 1.5 percentage points to 12.5%, following a recovery in the rouble amid signals that the country's inflation rate had peaked.

The reduction in the main lending rate was larger than the one-percentage-point cut that analysts had expected.

The rouble has rallied in recent weeks, reducing the need for high interest rates to defend it.

Rates peaked at 17% in December following a run on the currency.

It is the third time the bank has cut interest rates since then.

The rouble was 1% lower against the dollar at 51.55 following the announcement and down 1.6% to 57.67 against the euro.

Inflation in Russia hit a 13-year high of 16.9% last month and stood at 16.5% as of 27 April. The rate is expected to fall to below 8% in a year and to 4% in 2017.

Brazil raises rates

"As inflation risks abate further, the Bank of Russia will be ready to continue cutting the key rate," it said.

In other emerging market news, Brazil's central bank raised interest rates on Wednesday night, as Latin America's largest economy tries to combat inflation despite an economic slowdown.

The 0.5 percentage point increase to 13.25% puts rates at their highest level since January 2009.

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Image caption Electricity prices in Brazil have risen sharply this year

Inflation in Brazil reached 6.4% last year, just below the government's 6.5% ceiling and considerably higher than the target rate of 4.5%.

Energy prices surged about 60% in March compared with the same month last year, while the cost of food was up by an average of more than 8%.

After several years of spectacular growth, the economy has slowed down, with almost no growth recorded in 2014.

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