WARSAW, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Polish banks expect to lend more to companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, in early 2015, while regulatory changes are likely to curb mortgage lending, a central bank survey showed on Monday.
The survey results, which follow upbeat manufacturing data released on Monday, bode well for Poland's growth outlook despite a recent escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and disappointing growth in the neighbouring euro zone.
The Polish central bank said its quarterly poll of credit officers showed demand for corporate loans was expected to rise in the first quarter, while banks were also more prepared to lend. That reflected a revised perception of risks to growth and an improvement in the situation of big corporate debtors.
"Banks expect further easing of credit policy in the first quarter of 2015, directed to a larger extent to small and medium enterprises than large firms," the central bank said.
"Banks expect a rise in the demand for corporate credit, especially from small and medium enterprises."
Small and medium-sized firms generate about half of Poland's $530 billion annual output. Higher demand for credit is a signal that firms plan to expand operations or increase investment.
The central bank said banks expect a fall in demand for housing loans following the financial regulator's decision to introduce a cap on the loan-to-value index for mortgages, which came into force from January. (Reporting by Marcin Goettig; Editing by Catherine Evans)