All eyes on Poland’s central bank this week to see if it will finally join the monetary easing trend underway in emerging markets. Chances are it will, with analysts polled by Reuters unanimous in predicting a 25 basis point rate cut when the central bank meets on Wednesday. Data has been weak of late and signs are Poland will struggle even to achieve 2 percent GDP growth in 2013.
How far Polish rates will fall during this cycle is another matter altogether. Markets are betting on 100 basis points over the next 6 months but central bank board members will probably be cautious. Inflation is one reason along with the the danger of excessive zloty weakness that could hit holders of foreign currency mortgages. One source close the bank tells Reuters that 75 or even 50 bps would be appropriate, while another said:
“The council is very cautious and current market expectations for rate cuts are premature and excessive.”
That would appear logical for a central bank whose mindset is essentially hawkish and which raised interest rates just six months ago to combat inflation. Goldman Sachs said in a note that it reckons any cut will be reluctantly made:
Opposition to more aggressive easing will likely remain strong owing to still high inflation and near-term risks relating to higher food and energy prices, and the large weight attached to the inflation objective.