The Bank of Russia has decided to leave its key refinancing rate at 8% at its Thursday policy meeting. The central bank said the decision balanced current inflationary risks and economic growth prospects. “The annual rate of consumer price growth stayed low at 3.6 percent in April compared with the 2012 inflation target, while core inflation slowed to 5.3 percent,” the bank said in a statement. Inflation is expected to increase in the second half of the year due to rising administrative tariffs and the waning disinflationary impact of food prices but the Bank of Russia expects inflation to stay within the 2012 target. However it added that caution was needed. “The uncertainty about the influence of these factors on inflationary expectations remains a significant source of medium-term inflationary risk,” the statement said. Inflation in Russia in 2012 is forecast to remain low, within the Full Year 2011 inflation figure of 6.1 percent, an historic post-Soviet period low.