Assessing Poland’s Inflation Outlook: Recent Trends and Projections

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Bank Pekao

The Future Inflation Index (WPI) in Poland, a key indicator forecasting the trajectory of consumer goods and services prices, recently experienced a 0.5-point drop compared to December, according to the Bureau of Investments and Economic Cycles (BIEC). The BIEC highlights that approximately 82% of respondents anticipate a surge in prices. As we delve into the factors influencing this shift, it’s crucial to analyze the broader economic context shaping inflation expectations for both companies and households.

The conclusion of the previous year witnessed a deceleration in the decline of the WPI, with the indicator oscillating around similar values. This stabilization can be attributed to renewed inflation expectations among consumers and producers. Currently, these expectations have stabilized, and the exchange rate of the Polish zloty against major currencies, coupled with global raw material prices, suggests a potential reduction in the rate of price growth in the near future, as highlighted in the BIEC press release.

The BIEC identifies factors hindering a further decline in inflation, citing robust consumer demand and rising business operational costs, especially labor expenses. The institution notes that the inflation expectations of manufacturing enterprises have remained consistent, with a slight advantage for those planning price increases. Notably, this trend has persisted for three consecutive months, significantly exceeding levels observed in the summer of the previous year. Industries expressing a stronger inclination towards price hikes include producers of transport equipment, pharmaceuticals, clothing, and services related to machine repair, maintenance, and installation.

Of particular concern is the intention to raise prices within the service industry, particularly those involved in repairing, maintaining, and installing machines. BIEC suggests that heightened demand for these services may stem from increased machinery wear and tear among companies, coupled with a significant backlog in technological equipment investments. This raises questions about the sustainability of such price hikes and their potential impact on broader economic dynamics.

Turning our attention to households, there’s a marginal decrease in their inflation expectations compared to the previous month, albeit still high at around 82%. The data reveals a nuanced shift in expectations, with a slight decrease among those anticipating current inflation rates and a corresponding increase in those foreseeing a slower pace of price growth in the near future.

Preliminary data from the Central Statistical Office (GUS) indicates that inflation in December was 6.1%, a slight decrease from the 6.5% recorded in November. During a recent press conference, the president of the National Bank of Poland (NBP), Adam Glapiński, asserted that a substantial drop to approximately 3% can be expected in March, aligning with the NBP’s inflation target of 2.5%. Glapiński expressed confidence in the likelihood of reaching or closely approaching the inflation target by March.

As Poland navigates the complexities of inflation dynamics, the convergence of factors such as stabilized inflation expectations, currency exchange rates, and global raw material prices will play a pivotal role in determining the inflation trajectory. The contrasting expectations between companies and households, coupled with the National Bank of Poland’s optimistic projections, add layers of complexity to the evolving economic landscape. Monitoring these trends will be essential for policymakers and businesses alike, as they seek to navigate and adapt to the changing inflationary environment in the months ahead.

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