(Adds background and market reaction)
By Pawel Sobczak
WARSAW, July 29 (Reuters) - Poland may introduce a new tax on bank assets and supermarkets in 2017 rather than next year, as some investors had expected, Henryk Kowalczyk, a member of Poland’s main opposition party Law and Justice, said.
“There are no great chances to introduce the bank or supermarket tax in 2016,” Kowalczyk told Reuters. “Assuming that the new government will be created in late November, there is too little time to introduce such levies starting next year.”
Law and Justice is currently ahead in opinion polls before Poland’s national election in October.
The prospect of a new bank tax being introduced next year had put pressure on Polish bank shares because it would have had a big impact on their net profits.
After Kowalczyk’s comments Warsaw-listed banks rose as much as 9 percent, outperforming Warsaw’s blue chip index WIG20 .
Law and Justice also has plans to sort out Poland’s Swiss franc mortgage situation by converting these loans into zlotys at historical rather than current exchange rates. This could cost banks an estimated 64 billion zlotys.
“There is a need to connect the bank tax issue with the help for people who hold Swiss franc-denominated mortgages,” Kowalczyk said.
“One cannot impose two new levies. We cannot forget about the financial system’s safety,” he said.
Law and Justice has estimated that the bank levy plan would amount to 0.39 percent of the banks’ assets to raise some 5 billion zlotys ($1.34 billion) annually.
Details of the supermarket tax are not yet known, but Law and Justice has estimated it would to yield 2-3 billion zlotys a year. The largest supermarket chains in Poland include French Carrefour, and Auchan, Tesco, and Portuguese Jeronimo Martins’ Biedronka. ($1 = 3.7359 zlotys) (Reporting by Pawel Sobczak; Writing by Marcin Goclowski.; Editing by Adrian Krajewski and Jane Merriman)