* Central bank chief Belka under pressure over leaked tapes
* Rate-setter Rzonca says risk of eroding bank credibility
* Another rate-setter signals will work with Belka
(Adds context and more details)
WARSAW, June 20 A member of Poland's
rate-setting council, Andrzej Rzonca, was quoted as saying on
Friday that central bank chief Marek Belka should consider
whether he should stay in his job after he was caught on tape
using expletives about central bank colleagues.
Rzonca's remarks, published in a Polish newspaper on Friday,
mean that two of the 10 members of the central bank's Monetary
Policy Council (MPC) have now been publicly critical of him over
the tape affair.
"Governor Belka needs time. He will have to consider whether
his denials were enough to remain in his post to avoid exposing
the NBP (National Bank of Poland) to a further erosion of
credibility," Rzonca told Gazeta Wyborcza in an interview.
Of the remaining MPC members, three have indicated they can
keep working with Belka. The views of three more are not known.
A ninth, Andrzej Bratkowski, was asked by Reuters for his
view and said on Friday an MPC statement issued on Tuesday was
"sufficient" comment. That statement said the MPC viewed
positively its work with Belka but cautioned that mixing central
bank duties with politics was unacceptable.
Belka himself is the tenth member of the council, which he
A Polish magazine said on Saturday it had a recording of a
conversation in a restaurant last year in which Belka told a
minister he would be willing to help the government out of its
economic troubles if the finance minister was fired.
Using an expletive to describe the council, according to the
tape, he said it might try to block that plan but that there
were ways to work around it.
The governor said his words had been taken out of context,
that he had not done anything to break the law, and had not
exceeded his authority as central bank governor.
Polish law requires that the central bank be independent of
the government. Some analysts say that, in the light of Belka's
comments on the tape, it risked losing credibility with
financial markets as an independent institution.
Some analysts say the tape affair could make it harder for
the MPC to decide whether to keep interest rates at their
record-low level of 2.5 percent, or to cut them further in the
light of the inflation hovering around zero.
The zloty was slightly weaker on Friday against the euro.
Dealers cited a Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday as the main
reason for the decline and said the tapes affair was not
affecting the currency.
(Reporting by Marcin Goclowski, Pawel Florkiewicz and Michal
Janusz; Editing by Larry King)