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Polish central bank's Wasilewska says rate rises to date may be enough

Polish central bank's Wasilewska says rate rises to date may be enough

27.9.2007 9:11

WARSAW (Thomson Financial) - Poland's three rises in interest rates so far this year may prove enough to cap inflation, although next month's central bank staff projection may prove crucial to deciding if some tightening is still needed, bank policymaker Halina Wasilewska-Trenkner said.

In an interview after the bank kept the main rate at 4.75 pct yesterday, Wasilewska-Trenkner told Thomson (10 EUR, -0,67%) Financial News a stronger zloty, better than expected performance of productivity against wage growth and a good harvest had cooled her fears on future inflation.

"In this position, I do not know if further rises in interest rates will be necessary, although I cannot rule them out," she said.

"It may turn out that the tightening to date is sufficient to stifle pressure on inflation. We have to be careful not to damage the economy with our decisions."

Wasilewska has supported all of this year's rises in interest rates. If she chooses to vote against rates with the dovish group on the bank's divided 10-strong council it could rule out further rises in borrowing costs.
Currently markets have priced in one more 25 basis-point rise in borrowing costs with another 25-50 basis points to follow in the first half of next year.

"We find ourselves at a very important point in monetary policy. We could say that we are at a turning point and it is very hard to say which direction we are going to go in," Wasilewska said.

"In so much as in August I believed that another one or two interest rate rises were needed in the course of a year, currently I am inclined to revise my earlier view," she added.

She said her fears on acceleration of inflation had centred on strong rises in food prices, high rises in wages and employment as well as a weaker zloty. "Now, however, forecasts on harvests are clearly advantageous, the zloty is strong again and the relationship between labour productivity and wages seem to be more advantageous than we believed earlier," she said.

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