* Polish inflation and interest rates - bit.ly/2lbUG00
* Rates forecast reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls
By Jeremy Gaunt and Pawel Florkiewicz
LONDON/WARSAW, March 3 The last time Polish
inflation was as high as it is today, interest rates were at
4.25 percent, more than 180 basis points above the pace at which
the cost of living was rising.
The gap is currently the other way round, a negative 30
The relative rarity of this situation can be seen in this
graph - bit.ly/2lbUG00
For the first time since December 2011, the reference rate
is lower than year-on-year consumer inflation. Such an
occurrence has only been seen for a combined 10 months over the
last two decades.
Poland's monetary policy has remained conservative over that
period, refraining from central bank-led quantitative easing and
keeping rates a significant margin above inflation.
The interest rate has been at the record low level of 1.5
percent since March 2015. But January's year-on-year change in
the consumer price index was 1.8 percent, the highest since the
end of 2012.
A Reuters poll also points to it rising this year to as high
2.2 percent, with another poll showing rates remaining stable
until a hike in early 2018. reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/econ-polls
The central bank's noises suggest it remains happy enough
with this to keep rates steady.
Governor Adam Glapinski said last month that rate-setters
were not discussing whether to raise rates in 2017 and all
agreed that a wait-and-see strategy was optimal for now.
That would mean that negative inflation-adjusted rates could
remain in place throughout the year - which would be the longest
period in Poland's modern history, unless the central bankers
reconsider and hike at some point later this year.
(Additional reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Toby