Poland: NBP holds fire on rates in April
April 11, 2018
As largely expected by market analysts, the National Bank of Poland (NBP) kept the reference rate unchanged at a record-low 1.50% at its 10–11 April monetary policy meeting, marking three years since the reference rate was last changed. 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%.
A strong economic performance and easing inflation were behind the Bank’s decision to hold fire. GDP grew robustly in Q4 2017, driven by booming private consumption and a rebound in fixed investment, and recent data shows economic activity continued to expand robustly in the first quarter of this year. Notable expansions in retail sales in the first two months of the year suggest consumer spending was supported by tight labor market conditions, strongly rising wages, generous social benefits and declining inflation. Moreover, strong industrial production and PMI readings indicate that the manufacturing sector, supported by healthy overseas orders, continued to expand robustly in Q1, while sky-rocketing business confidence indicates companies are reaping the fruits of buoyant economic growth.
Despite data pointing to a robust performance in the real economy, inflation in March moderated for the fifth consecutive month, to 1.3%, thus moving further below the NBP’s 2.5% target. Although energy prices have risen in recent months, agricultural commodity prices are still lower than a year ago, exerting downward pressure on prices.
The Bank’s communiqué suggested that the current monetary policy stance is not likely to change. In fact, the NBP considers the current interest rates to be consistent with a level of inflation close to the Bank’s 2.5% target over the next two years, as well as with sustainable growth and macroeconomic stability. Moreover, as growth is expected to soften this year, inflationary pressures should ease.
The next monetary policy meeting is scheduled for 15–16 May.
Poland Interest Rate Forecast
Against this backdrop, FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect the reference rate to end 2018 at 1.81%. For 2019, the panel sees the rate ending the year at 1.87%.