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REFILE-POLL-Czech central bank to hike at least once by end-2021

(Fixes typo in lede)

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=CZCBIR%3DECI poll data

* All analysts expect main rate to stay at 0.25% on May 6

* Central bank decision at 1230 GMT, comments at 1345 GMT

* Four of 11 analysts se hike in Q3 - same as poll in March

* Ten of 11 analysts expect at least one hike by end-2021

PRAGUE, May 3 (Reuters) - The Czech National Bank is expected to keep policy unchanged on May 6 and analysts see at least one rate hike by the end of the year as the economy is expected to recover slowly from the COVID-19 pandemic, taking more steam out of the bank’s hawkish outlook.

The central bank will have kept the main two-week repo rate at 0.25% for a full year at the May meeting if the board decides in line with the expectation of all 12 analysts in the Reuters poll.

Czech rate-setters are tipped to be the first in Europe to embark on tightening journey, although at a slower pace than envisaged by its February staff macroeconomic forecast which saw as many as three hikes by year-end.

The bank’s board has been somewhat sceptical of the forecast, saying after the February and March meetings that rates may stay lower for longer - and the market has taken similar views.

The forecast is up for an update on Thursday, and the market will watch if it scales back the hawkish expectations.

Governor Jiri Rusnok told Reuters on April 21 that the central bank could begin to weigh, probably from August, whether and when to raise interest rates. The market still took that as a hawkish signal, sending market rates and the crown currency to firmer levels.

Four respondents in the poll forecast one rate hike in the third quarter, the same number as ahead of the March rate decision.

By the end of this year, 10 of 11 analysts expect at least one rate hike - six see the main rate at 0.50%, the other four project it at 0.75% at the end of 2021.

Financial markets are pricing in one standard 25-basis-point rate hike by the end of this year, according to forward-rate agreements (FRAs), a climbdown from the two moves the markets were anticipating ahead of the March policy meeting.

The economy shrank less than expected in the first quarter and manufacturing sentiment is at its highest in three years, while inflation is picking up again faster than the central bank expected. (Reporting by Robert Muller, editing by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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