Poland cuts key rate by suprise half point

Poland's central bank (NBP) announced Wednesday it had cut its key interest rate by a half-point to 3.25 percent taking analysts by surprise.

With inflation at 1.7 percent and well within NBP targets, analysts in Poland suggested Wednesday's decision was aimed at encouraging consumption in the market of 38.2 million, central Europe's largest.

Polish economic growth slowed to 2.0 percent last year as the eurozone crisis took its toll on exports while investment and domestic consumption weakened.

Meanwhile annual average inflation -- a key criteria for entry to the eurozone -- came in at 3.7 percent in 2012, down from 4.3 percent in 2011.

Growth is forecast at 2.2 percent this year, but analysts have warned that drag from the eurozone crisis, weaker domestic consumption and a slowdown in infrastructural investments after the Euro 2012 football championships could cause it to drop to 1.5 percent.

Warsaw has vowed to meet eurozone rules on deficit, inflation and debt by 2015 and is relaunching debate on a target entry date as the European single currency tackles its debt crisis.