Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Poland maintains rate, to consider rate change in in July

    Poland's central bank left its reference rate steady at 2.50 percent, as widely expected, and repeated its guidance that rates "should be kept unchanged unit the end of the third quarter of 2014."
    The National Bank of Poland (NBP), which cut rates by a total of 225 basis points from November 2012 through July 2013, added that a more comprehensive assessment of monetary policy "and potential adjustment of interest rates" will be be possible after a new forecast in July.
    In March the central bank pushed back its time frame for any rate change to at least the end of September from the end of the second quarter due to a lower inflation forecast and the potential impact from the conflict between neighboring Ukraine and Russia.
    The central bank said it's policy-setting council expects Poland's gradual economic recovery to continue in coming quarters while inflationary pressures will "remain very low."
    Poland's headline inflation rate fell further to 0.3 percent in April from 0.7 percent in February and March, below the NBP's forecast and sharply below the bank's target of 2.5 percent, plus/minus one percentage point.
    Core inflation also fell in April along with a further fall in producer prices and inflation expectations, the central bank added. In March the NBP forecast inflation this year of 0.8 percent to 1.4 percent, rising to 1.0 to 2.6 percent in 2015.
     While inflation is below forecasts, economic activity in Poland is accelerating and close to the central bank's projections.
     In the first quarter of this year, Gross Domestic Product expanded by 1.1 percent from the previous quarter for annual growth of 3.4 percent, up from 2.7 percent, driven by faster growth in investment and a slight acceleration in consumer demand.
    Industrial output growth also stabilized in April while construction and assembly output decelerated, the bank said, adding that retails sales growth had picked up along with a moderate acceleration in lending growth, both to companies and households.
    Stronger activity is also improving the situation in the labor market, with the unemployment rate down to 13.0 percent in April from 13.5 percent in March, the third month of a lower rate.
    However, the jobless remains elevated and the "heightened unemployment restricts wage pressure in the economy," the bank said.
    In March the central bank forecast economic growth of 2.9 to 4.2 percent this year, up from 1.6 percent in 2013. In 2015 the economy is forecast to expand by 2.7 to 4.8 percent.



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