1st September 2017

Reuters: Czech central bank's Hampl may raise hand for September rate hike

The Czech central bank may debate tightening monetary policy at any upcoming policy meeting, Vice-Governor Mojmir Hampl said in an interview, and he might vote to raise interest rates as early as the next meeting, in September.

The Czech National Bank (CNB) raised rates from near zero on Aug. 3, its first increase and the first by a European Union central bank since 2008.

At the same time, though, the bank's staff forecast and Governor Jiri Rusnok downplayed the prospects for further tightening, making Hampl's views clearly hawkish in comparison.

Hampl attributed his view to the latest data, which he said confirmed his intuition that economic growth was faster than previously thought.

"The development is good, and of course there is a big question therefore of how fast to proceed with tightening of monetary conditions," Hampl told Reuters on Tuesday. "At any meeting now, it will be relevant to debate further tightening."

Gross domestic product grew 2.3 percent in the second quarter, beating all forecasts with the fastest quarterly growth on record and putting annual growth at 4.5 percent.

Hampl said, in fact, he saw a possibility of voting for a rate hike at the Sept. 27 policy meeting.

"I would not rule it out at all," he said. "It seems possible to me that another moment may come at the next session."

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Members of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Czech Republic