Analysts Predict CNB To Hold Interest Rates


Prague, May 1 (CTK) – The Bank Board of the Czech National Bank (CNB) will leave interest rates unchanged at its Thursday meeting because of inflation development, analysts approached by CTK have said.


Inflation was below the central bank’s estimates in recent months. That is why interest rates will go up in the second half of the year, analysts said.


The CNB will also make public a new macroeconomic forecast on Thursday.


“May’s (policy) meeting of the CNB Bank Board will not bring any changes in setting monetary policy tools,” said Akcenta analyst Miroslav Novak.


“Nor do I expect any changes in the CNB’s comments about its further steps. The CNB (governing) board will have a new macroeconomic forecast at its disposal, indubitably, with some adjustments, however, it will still envisage that interest rates will be lifted at the end of 2018 and the beginning of 2019,” Novak said.


“The upcoming policy meeting will not bring any changes in interest rates but it will be important from a point of view of a new forecast,” said ING chief economist Jakub Seidler.


The focus will be on an expected development of the crown’s exchange rate and interest rates, he added. A consumer price hike caused by strong household consumption combined with slower gains of the crown will enable the CNB to lift rates twice in the second half of the year, Seidler said.


The new forecast will indicate inflation acceleration that will safely get above the 2 percent inflation target of the CNB in the second half of the year, said Cyrrus chief analyst Lukas Kovanda.


“It will be in the second half-yearly period that the CNB will decide to raise its basic interest rate. It will likely lift the rate twice this year,” said Kovanda.


The labour market will also play a key role in the CNB’s decision-making, said UniCredit Bank chief economist Pavel Sobisek.


“A faster wage hike might arouse a discussion on monetary policy tightening. However, data on wages are available with delay, and so a rate hike decision will be postponed and will rather be made in the fourth quarter (of the year),” said Sobisek.


The policy meeting of the Bank Board will be attended by all seven members of the governing board.


In its February forecast, the CNB envisaged a 3.6 percent economic expansion for this year and a rise of 3.2 percent for 2019.


The CNB last lifted interest rates in February, keeping them unchanged in March. The basic interest rate, which serves as a basis for interest on commercial loans, stayed at 0.75 percent in March.