Poland, Policy rate (Oct): 4.75%
Previous (Sep): 4.75%
Consensus: 4.50%, KBCS forecast: 4.50%
Bottom line: Polish MPC left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, against consensus and our expectations of a 25bp rate cut. The decision to keep rates unchanged came after a strong dovish signal from governor Marek Belka, who in last week’s interview underlined the MPC will soon
proceed to a cycle of interest rate cuts. That said, taking into account the more dovish tone of the yesterday’s post-meeting statement, we expect the first rate cut to take place in November. The new NBP projection due that month should point to a deterioration of economic outlook, along with inflation reaching the target around mid-2013. We would also not rule out one more rate cut to be delivered in December, after 3Q12 GDP figure (scheduled for release at end-November) confirms the continued slowdown of the Polish economy. We still forecast the total scale of monetary easing in Poland at 100bp.
• As signaled by governor Marek Belka during the yesterday’s postmeeting conference, the lack of majority within the Council to support a rate cut already this month, despite the slowing economy, was driven by concerns about the still high level of inflation. CPI was at 3.8% in August, above the upper target band of 3.5%, and is forecasted to edge up to 3.9% in September, before it decreases gradually over the coming months.
• As suggested by governor Belka, the MPC also chose to wait for the new NBP projection due in November to confirm the future path for inflation and economic growth before taking a decision to ease monetary policy.
• The tone of the MPC official post-meeting statement was more dovish than that released last month, signaling the Council is moving closer to monetary policy easing. The MPC said “should the incoming data, including the November inflation projection, confirm that economic slowdown would become protracted, while the risk of increase in inflationary pressure be limited, the Council will ease monetary policy”. Back in September the MPC used a somewhat less hawkish wording in the same paragraph: “(…) the Council will consider adjustment of monetary policy”.