MOSCOW, June 11 – PRIME. The Central Bank of Russia on Friday, June 11, raised the discount rate by 0.5 percentage points, to 5.5% per annum, the press service of the regulator reports. Thus, the rate returned to the level that was observed in April-June 2020. “On June 11, 2021, the Board of Directors of the Bank of Russia decided to raise the key rate by 50 bp, to 5.50% per annum,” the message says. The last time the regulator raised the key rate on April 23 this year, by 0.5 percentage points – up to 5% per annum. Experts interviewed by RIA Novosti expected that the regulator, against the background of annual inflation accelerating to a maximum since 2016 (6% in May), would opt for a rather sharp increase in the key rate – by 0.5 percentage points, to 5.5% per annum. It is noted that the Central Bank throughout the past year has been fighting for the health of the Russian economy after the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time using its main “pill” – stimulating monetary policy. As a result, in the summer, the regulator cut the rate to a historic low of 4.25% per annum. However, in the fall, inflation began to accelerate in the country, and the regulator was forced to pause the softening cycle. According to Rosstat, inflation in annual terms still exceeds the regulator’s target: in March it accelerated to 5.8% from 5.7% in February. The head of the Bank of Russia Elvira Nabiullina told RIA Novosti last week that the possibility of raising or maintaining the key rate will be considered at a meeting of the board of directors in June. Later, the first deputy chairman of the regulator, Ksenia Yudaeva, told reporters that the Central Bank would consider raising the key rate either by 0.25 or immediately by 0.5 percentage points, while the likelihood of keeping it at 5% per annum is less likely.