(Bloomberg) -- The European Union’s fastest inflation isn’t enough, on its own, to make Poland’s central bank lift interest rates from their record low.
That was the message this week from Governor Adam Glapinski as he snuffed out nascent expectations for a shift in his dovish stance just days before the latest monetary-policy meeting.
With Glapinski still deeming a hike too risky for the economy’s recovery, all 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predict the bank will on Wednesday leave its benchmark at a record-low 0.1% -- where it’s been for 1 1/2 years.
Looking further ahead, clues on the timing for a rate increase lie in the criteria set out by the governor to end ultra-loose monetary conditions -- namely strong economic expansion, a favorable labor market and elevated inflation.
“These conditions are likely to be fulfilled in late autumn,” said Grzegorz Maliszewski, chief economist at Bank Millennium SA. “The next waves of the pandemic shouldn’t disrupt the economy significantly. But a tight labor market and wage growth will raise demand pressure, keeping inflation above the target.”
Poland, the European Union’s biggest eastern economy, has so far lagged behind peers such as Hungary and the Czech Republic in removing crisis-era stimulus.
But in wide-ranging comments published Monday in local media, Glapinski divulged that one step toward tightening monetary conditions -- scaling back quantitative-easing -- has already begun.
He’s also reluctant to risk boosting the zloty and eroding export competitiveness. Poland’s currency has lagged Hungary’s forint and the Czech koruna over the last three months.
The central bank “isn’t ignoring elevated inflation and won’t allow it to become persistent,” Glapinski said.
A minority on the 10-strong Monetary Policy Council disagrees. Worried about expectations for prices becoming unanchored, they proposed 15 basis-point rate hikes at each of the last two meeting -- without success.
The MPC’s top dove, Eryk Lon, said this week that he shares Glapinski’s view on the current bout of inflation being only temporary. Consumer prices soared to 5.4% from a year ago in August, the fastest pace in two decades.
Malgorzata Krzywicka, an economist at Erste Group in Vienna, sees the 15 basis-point rate increase eventually materializing in November, alongside fresh macroeconomic projections. But she sees risks to the outlook with Covid-19 still not tamed.
Indeed, Glapinski has repeatedly quashed expectations for a rate increase as inflation flared up. Forward rate agreements currently price in a 20 basis-point increase in the benchmark in three months, down from 25 basis points last week.
“Given recent softer real economy data, from Poland as well as from the major economies, a postponement of the first hike into the first quarter of 2022 can’t be ruled out,” Krzywicka said.
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