Poland's central bank left the benchmark interest rate at a record-low 4% for an 11th month as consumer-price growth remains in check.
All 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey expected rates to be left unchanged. Policy makers will comment on the meeting at a press conference at 4 p.m. in Warsaw. This month's meeting was headed for the first time by Slawomir Skrzypek, who took office on January 11. Skrzypek, who has said monetary policy has been too restrictive in the past, takes office with inflation remaining below the bank's target of 2.5% for 19 months. Some economists expect the bank may need to raise rates in the Q2 as inflation accelerates. „This was no surprise at all,” said Jacek Wisniewski, the chief economist at Raiffeisen Bank in Warsaw. „There won't be a rate rise in the Q1.” Wisniewski said he agreed with Deputy Finance Minister Katarzyna Zajdel-Kurowska's comments today that a rate increase of half a percentage point was likely by the end of the H1 of the year. „It won't be a rate hike to slow down inflation -that still won't be necessary - but more a precautionary move to signal the central bank is keeping an eye on things,” he said. The zloty rose against the euro and the dollar after the decision, while the yield on the benchmark five-year bond fell 4.8 basis points to 4.878%. Annual inflation was 1.4% in December, the same pace as in the month before, while investments spurred economic growth last year to a nine-year record of 5.8%. (Bloomberg)