Consumer prices advanced 0.9% mom last month and significantly exceeded market expectations. Annual inflation increased to 4.3%, twoyear high, from 3.6% in February. In March, prices of fuels and foodstuff contributed most to the rise of the overall price level. Inflation surprise propels a chance of another NBP’s rate hike.
Crude oil prices accelerated as world demand picked up and supply risks spread in MENA countries. Therefore, fuel prices started to rise again in March after a brief pause in February. Annual inflation in fuel prices reached almost 14%. Food inflation also sped up. In March, prices of foodstuff and beverages increased by 2.1% mom and 6.8% yoy. CPI ex food and energy, a measure of core inflation, however, remains subdued. It keeps at 1.7% yoy. But, advancing employment and retail sales rising by 12.2% in February, the highest figure in the EU, indicates strong domestic demand, which could be another inflation driver in a near future. Such an interpretation lends support for another tightening of NBP’s monetary policy. The central bank is likely to increase its reference rate by 25 bps to 4.25% at the next meeting in May. Recently, one MPC member mentioned even a possibility of a 50 bps hike.
CPI Actual (March): 0.2% mom; 3.6% yoy
Consensus: 0.5% mom; 3.9% yoy
Previous (February): 0.9% mom; 4.3% yoy