Polish Banks Jump Most in Two Years on Bets Levy Will Be Delayed

Polish banks rose the most in 22 months after Reuters reported the country’s main opposition party will delay imposing levies on lenders until 2017 should it win in this year’s general elections.

The 15-member WIG-Bank Index jumped 3.7 percent as of 1:54 p.m. in Warsaw, led by Getin Noble Bank SA, which climbed 13 percent. MBank headed for the steepest gain since November 2013, while Millennium Bank increased for the second day. The Law & Justice party, which is leading in opinion polls ahead of the October vote, may postpone its plan to impose a tax on lenders’ assets, lawmaker Henryk Kowalczyk told Reuters.

Putting off the levy could bring relief to an industry already reeling from the burden of rescuing credit unions, as well as the prospect of having to help those who took out mortgages in Swiss francs. The opposition wouldn’t have enough time to introduce the tax in 2016, Kowalczyk told Reuters.

“There will be more time for discussion over the levy, which eventually may lead to some changes in the initial proposal to make it less painful for the industry,” Marta-Jezewska Wasilewska, an equity analyst at Wood & Co. in Warsaw, said by phone today.

Central Bank Governor Marek Belka has criticized the banking levy, which was proposed by the opposition to rein in as much as 5 billion zloty ($1.3 billion) for the state budget.

Today’s gains in the WIG-Bank Index trimmed the gauge’s losses this month to 7.1 percent, the steepest decrease since September 2011.

The Law & Justice party will make a final decision on tax amendments in early September, Elzbieta Witek, a spokeswoman for the movement, said by phone.

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