Polish inflation unexpectedly accelerated in April and remained above the central bank’s target for a 19th month, supporting arguments for raising interest rates.
The headline inflation rate was 4 percent, up from 3.9 percent in March, the Central Statistical Office based in Warsaw said today. The figure was above the 3.9 median estimate of 31 economists in a Bloomberg survey. Prices rose 0.6 percent from the previous month.
The Narodowy Bank Polski raised its main rate by a quarter- point to 4.75 percent on May 9, its first increase since last June and the first such move in the European Union in 2012. Governor Marek Belka said after the decision that Poland’s economy had avoided a “significant” slowdown with inflation staying “stubbornly high.” The bank didn’t rule out further tightening.
“Inflation accelerated on an increase in natural-gas costs and food prices,” Maciej Reluga, chief economist at Bank Zachodni WBK in Warsaw, wrote in a note before the report.
Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, Poland’s biggest natural-gas company, introduced new tariffs at the end of March, increasing prices for the largest industrial customers by an average of 16 percent and by 7.2 percent for households.
Consumer price growth has remained above the central bank’s 2.5 percent target since October 2010. It has exceeded the 3.5 percent upper limit of the bank’s tolerance threshold since January 2011. Poland’s economy will grow 2.7 percent in 2012, while the euro region will contract 0.3 percent, the Brussels- based European Commission forecast on May 11.
“We saw that the monthly figures weren’t showing a gradual fall in the inflation rate,” Belka said in an interview for the bank’s Obserwatorfinansowy.pl website yesterday. “The inflation rate is bouncing around 4 percent, but the important thing is its stubborn persistence at this high level.”
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