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Polish inflation plunges to 1.9% y/y in May

18.6.2002 8:48

Inflation dropped in May to 1.9% y/y – breaking yet another record (inflation a year ago was 6.9% y/y). The lowest annual change was in fuel prices, which dropped by 3.1% y/y. Just as in previous months clothing and footwear prices also had a low rate of increase – they dropped by 0.8% compared with a year ago. Weak demand caused that the introduction of an excise duty on electricity has not been reflected on the monthly change in energy prices - in April these prices increased by 0.7% m/m and in May they dropped by 0.1%. The increase in household energy prices dropped to a level of 5.8% y/y, compared with 6.0% y/y in April, while housing costs together with household energy slowed to 5.9% y/y.

If prices show the same small momentum in June, this combined with a good supply on the agricultural market and the lack of perspectives of strong increase in oil prices should translate into annual inflation of the order of 1.7 - 1.8% in June and between 2.7 - 2.8% y/y at the end of December this year. Despite the fact that such low inflation should entice the MPC to reduce rates in June, we believe that the key data for this decision will be the industrial output. According to our forecasts, the MPC will reduce rates by a further 50 basis points at its June session (gradual approach), although one can not exclude the scenario of one big cut.

The budget deficit reached 57.4% of the plan in May - progress on the income side was 36.9%, whereas on the expenditure side it was 41.4%. These data indicate that there should not be any problem this year in achieving the budget at the assumed level, while the increase in income from indirect taxes by a nominal amount of 7.8% and a real amount of 4.7% in January - May 2002 compared with January - May 2001 indicates slow growth in domestic demand, which does not carry with it the threat of inflation over the coming 2 - 3 quarters.

Konrad Soszynski, Kredyt Bank S.A., Warsaw
Jakub Dvorak, Investment Research, CSOB

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