(Adds governor's quotes)
PRAGUE, Sept 5 The Czech central bank could exit
from its weak crown policy around the middle of 2017 even if
inflation is still slightly below the bank's 2-percent target,
Governor Jiri Rusnok was quoted as saying on Monday.
The central bank said after its policy meeting that it was
still on target to exit its exchange rate commitment around the
middle of next year, although Rusnok has previously said he
would prefer inflation to "robustly reach" the inflation target,
or even slightly overshoot it.
"If inflation was slightly below 2 percent in mid-2017, but
the outlook would suggest it surpassing that level in the
nearest future, I could imagine the exit even in such a
situation," Rusnok told weekly magazine Respekt in an interview.
"The exit from this regime is by all means conditioned by
the sustainability of the 2-percent inflation target even after
the return to standard monetary policy."
The central bank has kept the crown on the weak side of the
27 crowns per euro level since November 2013 in an attempt to
Czech consumer prices accelerated to annual growth of 0.5
percent in July from 0.1 percent in June.
The central bank's latest macroeconomic outlook sees annual
inflation at 2.2 percent in the third quarter of 2017 and then
accelerating to 2.4 percent in the last quarter.
The Czech economy has been showing solid growth, expanding
by 2.6 percent in the second quarter, which together with the
lowest unemployment in the European Union has boosted prices and
wages even as external prices remain a risk.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Writing by Robert Muller; Editing by