By the end of 2010, the lending rate will probably stay in the range of 7.5% and for end-2011 the analyst sees the benchmark rate around 6.75%.

Inflation rates could hike to 5.4% this year, thus breaching the upper limit of the interval projected by National Bank of Romania who forecasts 3.5% rate for the end of 2009.

“In order to reach the 4.5% limit, we should have a 0.2% monthly inflation, and the likelihood for that to happen is not so great”, said Anghel.

At the same time, the currency exchange rates could oscillate around 4.30 lei/euro, and for the end of 2010 around 4.20. In 2011, the local currency could bounce back by the end of the year up to 3.90 lei/euro, reads the quarterly macroeconomic analysis of BCR.

In March, the annual inflation rate fell by less than analysts had expected, down to 6.71% from 6.89% a month earlier, following the rising prices of non-food products, especially of tobacco, INS informed.

NBR’s board will hold the fourth rate-setting meeting of the year on Wednesday when the final quarterly inflation report will be passed.

The majority of the analysts expect NBR to leave benchmark rate at 10% or to cut it by 0.25% at the most in a bid to battle economic slowdown. Economists say NBR will keep its liquidity adjustment measures running and will keep the required reserve ratio at its current level.