The Central European currencies closed barely changed on Friday. The Polish zloty slid by 0.4 percent against the common currency while the koruna and the forint posted only small losses. The forint may have been slightly supported by the announcement that the government would undertake steps to lower public deficit by 0.5 percent of GDP next year.
As far as Friday’s Czech National Bank’s (CNB) meeting with analysts is concerned, it confirmed the bank plans no unconventional measures (such as negative repo rates) to further ease monetary conditions. In other words, the only discussed policy tool (let us recall that the main repo rate already hit its ‘technical zero’) remains the exchange rate. CNB board members who were present at the
meeting (vice-governor Tomsik and board member Janacek) confirmed their strong focus on the exchange rate by remembering its precise value which had prevailed during the last policy meeting. Besides that, the board has been clearly concerned with falling inflation expectations and negative core inflation.
According to the CNB board, a weaker koruna should be able to tackle both; moreover, as a side-effect of rising inflation expectations, it should even support household consumption (Board members believe that a weaker koruna would pass-through into import prices and the households would speed-up their consumption spending due to the fear from additional increase in prices).
As we already pointed out, we believe that rather than risks of outright interventions, the CNB policy sets a threshold for eventual (fast) strengthening of the koruna. Therefore, we think that the koruna is heading for the period of lower volatility and relative decoupling from global and regional markets.