Russia's central bank lowered its key interest rate to 11% at an off-schedule meeting on Friday and said it saw room for more cuts this year, as inflation slows from more than 20-year highs and the economy is about to contract.
The central bank held the extraordinary meeting after cutting the key rate to 14% in April, weeks after an emergency rate increase to 20% triggered by Russia's move to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The central bank, which has now slashed its key rate by a cumulative 900 basis points since February, said it "holds open the prospect of a key rate reduction at its upcoming meetings."
"Inflationary pressure eases on the back of the rouble exchange rate dynamics as well as the noticeable decline in inflation expectations of households and businesses," the bank said in a statement.
External conditions for the Russian economy are still challenging but financial stability risks have somewhat decreased, opening room for easing some capital control measures, it said.
Governor Elvira Nabiullina is due to speak at a banking conference in Moscow later in the day where she may shed more light on her bank's plans.
The central bank did not mention its 2022 inflation forecast, which previously stood at 18-23%, but said inflation will slow to 5-7% in 2023 before reaching its 4% target in 2024.
Inflation slowed to 17.51% as of May 20 from 17.69% a week earlier amid a decline in consumer activity, the economy ministry said, but hovered near its highest since early 2002.
High inflation dents living standards and has been one of the key concerns among Russians for years.
On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin ordered a 10% rise in pensions and the minimum wage to cushion Russians from inflation.
He denied the country's economic problems were all linked to what he calls its "special military operation" in Ukraine, which has prompted the West to impose sweeping sanctions.
The next rate-setting meeting is scheduled for June 10.