Poland: NBP holds fire on rates at first meeting of the year
The National Bank of Poland (NBP) kept the reference rate unchanged at a record-low 1.50% at its 9–10 January monetary policy meeting, in line with market expectations. In addition, the Bank held the Lombard rate unchanged at 2.50%, the deposit rate at 0.50% and the rediscount rate at 1.75%. With January’s decision, the Bank has now kept the reference rate unchanged for nearly three years.
Buoyant economic activity, manageable inflationary pressures and an accommodative stance by the ECB underpinned the Bank’s decision. GDP growth was remarkable in Q3, and according to available data economic activity continued to expand strongly in Q4: Retail sales grew robustly in both October and November, spurred by rising wages and tightening labor market conditions. Meanwhile, industrial production soared in year-on-year terms in the first two months of Q4, benefiting from buoyant external and domestic demand. The PMI also shot up, hitting a multi-year high in December.
Despite strong economic activity, inflation dropped to 2.0% in December from 2.5% in November, thus moving below the NBP’s 2.5% target. Moreover, despite an acceleration in wage dynamics, core inflation remained low. The Bank considers that growth will likely moderate in the next quarters, although it should remain robust. Moreover, the NBP projects inflation will stay close to its target range of 2.5% plus or minus one percentage point. As the Bank considers the current level of interest rates consistent with macroeconomic stability and sustainable growth, it implicitly suggested that it will maintain its current monetary policy stance in the near future.
The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for 6–7 March.