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UPDATE 2-Czech president to appoint EU experts to central bank board
January 10, 2017 / 11:32 AM / 8 months ago

UPDATE 2-Czech president to appoint EU experts to central bank board

* President to name Oldrich Dedek, Marek Mora to CNB

* Both seen as favourable to eventual euro adoption

* Analysts see monetary policy staying course

* Bank nearing end of long-held crown interventions

* GRAPHIC on interventions: tmsnrt.rs/2f3Q04s (Adds quotes, details on appointees)

By Robert Muller

PRAGUE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - The Czech president will appoint two economists to the central bank’s board from February, picks who could make the bank more receptive to the idea of joining the euro but are unlikely to change its monetary policy stance.

President Milos Zeman’s spokesman said on Tuesday he would appoint professor of economics Oldrich Dedek and Marek Mora, a senior EU official and one-time adviser to central bank Governor Jiri Rusnok, to the seven-member board on Jan. 31, with effect from mid-February.

Zeman’s fourth and fifth appointees will replace policymakers appointed by his eurosceptic predecessor, Vaclav Klaus.

Analysts said the changes were not likely to shift the central bank’s monetary policy course as it nears an exit from its weak-crown policy, in place since 2013. Data on Tuesday showed inflation returning to its 2 percent target for the first time in four years.

Dedek is the Czech Republic’s euro adoption coordinator and previously served on the CNB’s board from 1999 to 2005.

Mora is an economist who has worked in senior positions in the Czech government and EU institutions and is a director at the EU Council, focused on budget, tax and regional policy.

“Both of them will act in a less eurosceptic way than previous (board members),” said Pavel Sobisek, chief economist at UniCredit in Prague, although he added that the appointments are unlikely to speed up euro adoption.

The Czech Republic is one of the more eurosceptic new European Union members and has set no formal target date for adopting the common currency, on which the central bank advises the government.

CROWN CAP

The central bank has kept the crown on the weak side of 27 per euro for three years to help revive inflation and growth. It has pledged to keep the policy in place until at least the second quarter but has said a mid-2017 exit is likely.

In October, Dedek told a TV debate there were fewer reasons to keep the weak crown given a strong labour market and economy, “so I think it is good the CNB is preparing for an exit”.

Dedek and Mora will replace Pavel Rezabek and Lubomir Lizal, whose terms end on Feb. 13. The current board will meet for the last time on Feb. 2.

Recent board appointees have also been close to Governor Rusnok, whom Mora advised when he was industry minister in the early 2000s.

Former Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra, said Mora was highly competent. “I saw him as an economic liberal and a fiscal conservative,” he told Reuters. (Additional reporting by Jan Lopatka and Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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