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Polish May Retail-Sales Growth Accelerates From 22-Month Low

Polish retail sales accelerated in May, rebounding from the lowest growth in 22 months in April, when an Easter holiday damped demand.

Sales advanced 7.7 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 5.5 percent increase in April, the Central Statistical Office in Warsaw said today. The median estimate of 23 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was 7.5 percent. Retail sales rose 0.9 percent from the previous month.

“The long holiday week and good weather helped May sales, especially food,” Wojciech Matysiak, an economist at Bank Pekao SA in Warsaw, wrote in a note after the release. “We could see a similar pace in June on consumption linked to the Euro 2012 soccer championships, judging by the 22.5 percent jump in consumer electronics and appliance sales in May.”

The Narodowy Bank Polski, the only central bank in the European Union to raise borrowing costs this year, increased the benchmark seven-day rate to 4.75 percent in May to combat inflation, which has exceeded the upper end of its target range for 17 months. Policy makers left the rate unchanged this month, saying they may consider raising it if inflation stays elevated.

Zloty, Bonds

Poland would be mistaken to raise borrowing costs again this year with economic growth suffering due to the global slowdown, even with “very good” May retail and jobs data, Elzbieta Chojna-Duch of the Monetary Policy Council told TVN CNBC in an interview today.

The central bank will leave rates unchanged for the rest of this year, Pekao’s Matysiak said.

The zloty extended gains after the data, trading at 4.2537 per euro at 11:44 a.m. in Warsaw, 0.2 percent stronger on the day. The average yield on the 10-year government bond due in 2021 rose 1 basis point to 5.17 percent.

The retail data are the last in the series of statistics before a July 3-4 rate meeting. Policy makers are seeking more evidence that economic growth will slow to 2.5 percent this year from 4.3 percent last year, helping contain inflation.

Since the June 6 meeting, inflation unexpectedly decelerated to 3.6 percent in May, the slowest in 15 months, while jobs growth at companies with more than nine workers held steady at 0.3 percent and wages rose 3.8 percent, less than the 4 percent median forecast.

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