July 31, 2018 / 4:55 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Another Czech rate increase is likely this week

* 10 of 13 analysts see main rate rising 25 bps to 1.25 percent

* Seven predict another hike by end of year

* Central bank’s monetary chief flagged faster tightening

* Crown weakness, domestic inflation pressures leading to action

* Bank meets Thursday: decision 1100 GMT, news conference 1215 GMT

* reuters://realtime/verb=Open/url=cpurl://apps.cp./Apps/cb-polls?RIC=CZCBIR%3DECI poll data (Adds polling data link in bullet point)

PRAGUE, July 31 (Reuters) - The Czech central bank is likely to raise interest rates on Thursday, delivering a second straight increase and the third in 2018, to counter a weaker-than-expected currency and the inflation pressures of strong economy, a Reuters poll showed.

Ten of 13 respondents in the poll expected the bank to raise rates this week. The remaining three expect no change to the two-week repo rate, which the central bank’s board raised by 25 basis points to 1.00 percent in June.

Of the 10 foreseeing a move this week, seven predicted another increase by the end of the year.

“Both inflation and exchange rate developments are providing enough arguments for a tighter monetary policy,” Generali Investments CEE chief economist Radomir Jac said.

The bank will also release new staff forecasts on Thursday, which the head of the monetary department, Tomas Holub, told Reuters last week will pencil in more expected tightening .

The export-reliant Czech economy grew 4.2 percent in the first quarter and the bank forecasts growth of almost 4 percent for all 2018.

The Czechs were the first in the European Union to begin raise interest rates last year, after a long period of loose policy that included intervention to keep the crown weak from 2013 to 2017.

After the bank raised rates in February, its outlook pointed to a period of no change, on expectations a stronger crown would help tighten monetary conditions.

Instead, the crown has weakened 1.7 percent; it now trades 3.3 percent weaker than the average 24.8 per euro assumed in the third quarter under the bank’s outlook.

Inflation has also accelerated, to 2.6 percent in June, 0.7 percentage points above the bank’s prediction and surpassing its 2 percent target.

Markets are not yet pricing in two full rate hikes by the end of the year.

Reporting by Mirka Krufova Writing by Robert Muller Graphics by Jason Hovet Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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