Conference following the February meeting of the Monetary Policy Council
At its February meeting, the Monetary Policy Council decided to keep interest rates unchanged.
The Monetary Policy Council, which held a meeting on 3 and 4 February, decided to leave the NBP interest rates at the previous level. Thus, the reference rate continues at 2.00%, the Lombard rate at 3.00%, the rediscount rate at 2.25%, and the deposit rate at 1.00%. As pointed out in the press release following the MPC meeting, should deflation persist longer than expected, which would increase the risk of inflation remaining below the target in the medium term, the Council does not rule out it will make monetary policy adjustment at the nearest meeting. The release states that “a more comprehensive assessment of the outlook for inflation returning to the target will be possible after the Council gets acquainted with the incoming information, including the March NBP projection.”
The Council is closer to taking the decision to reduce the interest rates than it was in January, said Professor Marek Belka at the press conference following the MPC meeting. The MPC decision of February was affected not only by the assessment of the macroeconomic situation in Poland and its direct environment, but also by the recently persisting higher volatility in the financial markets. The situation in the real economy is stable, and we also have our internal expert inflation projections. We, more or less, know what the upcoming months may bring. The third factor is the increased foreign exchange volatility related to the liberalisation of the Swiss franc. With all these factors acting together, we want to wait a few more weeks, said Professor Belka.
In his comments on the situation in the FX market and a strong appreciation of the Swiss franc, the NBP President said that it wasn’t a big surprise. A significant factor, observed also elsewhere in the world, is the issue of Swiss franc loans. The debate around this issue is a destabilising factor which renders more difficult the process of decision making as concerns interest rates.
Asked about the proposal of a currency conversion of the Swiss franc loans, Professor Belka said that taking care of the stability of the domestic financial system is of paramount importance. It is not, however, in the interest of the bank owners, but in the interest of millions of depositors, he pointed out. What we have in view is that the security of deposits placed in the banks is not under threat even for a moment.
The press conference was attended, besides the MPC Chairman, by Professor Anna Zielińska-Głębocka and Professor Jerzy Osiatyński. The next MPC meeting is scheduled for 3 and 4 March 2015.