WARSAW, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Poland’s central bank could be one of the next institutions whose independence may be threatened by the policies of the country’s new government, primary rating analyst for Poland at Standard & Poor’s (S&P), Felix Winnekens, said on Monday.
“We think that there is a risk that the central bank could be one of the next institutions whose independence may be threatened. And I think that is what we want to flag with the negative outlook,” Winnekens told Reuters in an interview.
S&P unexpectedly cut Poland’s credit rating a notch on Friday, saying the new government has weakened the independence of key institutions, warning the rating could fall further, particularly if credibility of monetary policy is undermined.
Asked if the credibility of the central bank was already being undermined by the appointments of three new rate-setters by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Winnekens said:
“We would not want to comment on individual members of the Monetary Policy Council ... This is a democratic process they are going through.”
“For us the concern would rather be legislative changes regarding the central bank. ... Politically motivated changes in the mandate for instance that went beyond the normal operations of the central bank. That would be a concern we would have.”
PiS has not proposed any changes to the central bank mandate, although senior PiS officials floated ideas to change the bank’s mandate during last year’s election campaign. (Reporting by Marcin Goettig)