At the meeting held on Wednesday, February 7, 2001 the Council of the Croatian National Bank, chaired by Governor dr. Zeljko Rohatinski, reviewed recent economic and monetary developments, adopted the 2001 work plan of the Institute for Domestic Payments and the price list of its services. In addition, members of the CNB Council were informed about the successful start of the National Clearing System. They also approved a number of nominations for members and chairpersons of banks' and savings banks' management boards.
Since the January growth of prices was only moderate (producer prices of industrial goods also fell significantly), the inflation rate decreased on annual basis as well. The fact that no significant growth of prices is expected in the coming months indicates that the Croatian inflation is again decreasing to usual levels under 5 percent per annum. The exchange rate of the kuna fluctuates within the acceptable band, with only one central bank intervention on the foreign exchange market at the end of January.
Bank lending to private sector increased in December by 2.7 percent, that is, by 1.6 billion kuna (in 2000 bank lending to private sector totaled 5 billion kuna). A significant part of additional loans, however, were not corporate loans, but household loans. Average interest rates on bank lending are continually decreasing: the average interest rate on total new lending in December was 10.6 percent (10.5 percent on kuna loans without a currency clause, 10.7 percent on kuna loans with a currency clause, 7.5 percent on foreign currency loans). The observed level of interest rates is about 2.4 percentage points lower than the December 1999 level. The fall of interest rates on short-term corporate kuna loans without a currency clause is even more significant and amounts to 3.8 percentage points, thus lowering the level of interest rates to about 6.8 percent.
In January, the average interest rate in daily transactions on the Zagreb Money Market was 3.86 percent and the average overnight interest rate between 0.5 and 3.0 percent. In the past few days, interest rates on the Money Market increased due to the start of the National Clearing System (NCS) which forces banks to take great and continuous care of their liquidity. However, this rise of interest rates is only a temporary development which occurred due to the caution exercised at the start of the new clearing system.
At the Wednesday meeting, the Council of the Croatian National bank agreed with the nomination of Mr. Hans-Joachim Gersmann for chairman of the management board of BNP-Dresdner Bank Croatia d.d., as well as with the nominations of Mr. Tomo Bolotin for chairman and Mr. Stjepan Kolovrat for member of the management board of Splitska banka d.d. Split. The CNB Council also approved the nominations of Mr. Milivoj Delac for member of the management board of Imex banka d.d. Split, Mr. Milivoj Debelic for member of the management board of Kvarner banka d.d. Rijeka, Mr. Dusko Miculinic for member of the management board of Primorska stedionica d.d. Rijeka and Ms. Jasna Koncarevic for chairwoman of the management board of Stedionica Sonic d.d. Zagreb.
Further, the CNB Council agreed with putting into circulation kuna and lipa coins dated 2001. The Croatian Mint was given approval for the mintage of two gold medals: the first one is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of "Koncar" -Elektroindustrija d.d. and the second entitled "Katedrala- Zagreb 2000" to the Zagreb Cathedral.