At the session held on 16 December 2019, the CNB Council reviewed the latest economic and monetary indicators and adopted a monetary policy projection for the period up to 2022 and a report on the banking sector condition in the third quarter of this year. The Council also enacted several decisions on matters falling within its competence.
The real GDP growth rate is expected to stand at 3.0% in 2019. Real GDP grew by 2.9% in the third quarter, with the overall growth driven primarily by exports of goods and services, whereas high-frequency statistical data for the last quarter point to a slowdown in current growth. Economic activity is expected to continue to increase in 2020 and the real GDP growth rate to edge down to 2.8%. The slowdown of growth relative to the 2019 estimate reflects a weaker than expected increase in total exports. Domestic demand could grow at stable rates, increasing its reliance on personal consumption. Employment in the labour market is expected to continue to grow and the unemployment rate is expected to decline. Inflation is anticipated to decelerate to 0.8% in 2019, primarily due to a decrease in the contribution of energy prices and the effect of the VAT rate cut on food and pharmaceutical products. Inflation is expected to accelerate to 1.4% in 2020 on the back of an increase in the annual growth rate of food prices and a rise in excises. Despite the continued deepening of the foreign trade deficit, the current and capital account surplus in 2019 could exceed that from the previous year thanks to the growth of services exports, better use of EU funds and an increase in remittance income; the surplus is expected to decrease in 2020. External debt indicators could continue to improve. As regards fiscal policy, budget amendments for 2019 indicate that the general government surplus achieved in 2018 will be followed by a minor budget deficit in this year, while the 2020 budget projects a slightly positive balance. General government debt is likely to continue to decline in keeping with prescribed fiscal rules. In such a macroeconomic environment, the CNB intends to continue pursuing an expansionary monetary policy, maintaining high liquidity levels in the monetary system and the stability of the nominal exchange rate of the kuna against the euro. Expectations are that high liquidity should continue to boost the several-year trend of improvement in financing conditions for domestic sectors. Total placements to domestic sectors (excluding the government) could slow down in 2019 as a result of a deterioration in corporate placements' trends, while 2020 could see a recovery in corporate loans, coupled with a slight deceleration in household placements.
The CNB Council approved the proposal of the Supervisory Board of Erste&Steiermärkische Bank d.d., Rijeka to reappoint Christoph Schöfböck as Chairman of the Management Board and to appoint Krešimir Barić and Hannes Frotzbacher as Management Board Members.
The Council adopted a decision on the basic features of a 25 kuna commemorative circulation coin marking the Croatian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2020 and a decision on putting this coin in circulation: it will be minted in 30,000 pieces and released into circulation on 15 January 2020. The Council also adopted a decision on release into circulation of kuna and lipa coins bearing the year of mint "2020".