6 December 2004

1. At its meeting on 6 December 2004, the Monetary Council considered the latest economic and financial developments. In accordance with the Council’s meeting schedule, changing the central bank base rate did not come up at Monday’s meeting.

The Council defined the strategic framework for the MNB’s reserve and risk management policy and discussed the 2005–2006 monetary programme.

The Monetary Council also discussed the latest issue of the Bank’s Report on Financial Stability. The Council is releasing its own evaluation of macroeconomic conditions in a statement in relation to the Report.

2. Since its inception, the Monetary Council has dealt with the issue of the most efficient vehicle of informing the wider public about the debates at its meetings. On 21 June 2004, the Council reviewed the relevant international experience and decided to prepare abridged minutes of all of its rate-setting meetings over a trial period of six months. According to the decision, the Council would decide on regular publication at the end of the year, after expiration of the trial period.

On 6 December 2004, the Council made a favourable evaluation of the trial period and decided to publish abridged minutes of its rate-setting meetings. The abridged minutes will include the Council’s decision on the central bank base rate, highlighting the division of votes cast, a brief assessment prepared by Bank staff, a short summary of opinions voiced by members as well as the alternatives for interest rate changes, including the related supporting arguments. Views and opinions will be contained in the abridged minutes in a way that they cannot be linked to any of the members of the Monetary Council.

The Council will approve the abridged minutes and publish them in accordance with its release calendar, making them available for the public before the next rate-setting meeting.

With the publication of abridged minutes of its meetings, the Council’s objective is to enhance transparency of its monetary policy decision-making process and allow economic agents to have a more accurate picture of factors playing a role in interest rate setting. All this is believed to increase the predictability of monetary policy.