Serbia’s central bank is expected to keep its benchmark interest rate at 4 percent on Thursday for the 14th straight month as it weighs low growth and economic pressures at home against uncertain monetary policy developments abroad.
All 10 analysts and traders polled by Reuters this week and last said the central bank would keep the rate, on hold.
The latest U.S. jobs data suggested the possibility of another interest rate rise from the U.S. Federal Reserve this year, a move that may prompt investors to shift attention to the U.S. dollar and away from emerging markets.
In its August inflation report, the central bank said it expected inflation to remain within its 2017 target band of 3 percent, give or take 1.5 percentage points.
July inflation stood at 3.2 percent, down from 3.6 percent a month earlier. The Statistics Office will release August inflation data on Sept. 12.
“Although a rate cut would be beneficial, the bank will likely hold it to maintain portfolio investments, preserve the stability of the (dinar’s) exchange rate (to the euro) and keep inflation under control,” said Sasa Djogovic, an economist with the Belgrade-based Institute for Market Research.
The dinar has remained strong against the euro since the bank’s last policy move, bolstered by foreign currency inflows for investments and remittances.
Dealers and traders have said the currency was likely to weaken later this year.
Underperforming growth may also play a role in the bank’s policy decision after Prime Minister Ana Brnabic told Reuters the economy could grow by 2.5 percent this year, below the previously foreseen 3 percent.
Brnabic also said Serbia may not seek a new loan from the International Monetary Fund after the expiration of a current 1.2 billion euro ($1.4 billion) standby arrangement in 2018.
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