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Czech c.banker Benda: will wait for policy recommendation before deciding on June hike -paper

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FILE PHOTO: Prague's Old Town Square during the coronavirus pandemic

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech central bank board member Vojtech Benda will wait for recommendation of the bank's staff and debate at the June 22 board meeting before deciding whether or how much interest rates need to rise, he said in a newspaper interview on Thursday.

"I will wait for the monetary department's analysis, their recommendation and what comes from the debate. I would not like to lock myself into some opinion," Benda told the Denik N daily, according to a copy of the interview made available to Reuters.

The June 22 meeting will be the last one for Benda, Governor Jiri Rusnok and Vice-Governor Tomas Nidetzky whose terms expire at the end of the month. The three have backed the bank's monetary tightening campaign over the past year, unlike incoming Governor Ales Michl.

The interview was conducted before the announcement of three new board members on Wednesday, which confirmed Benda would not be reappointed for another 6-year term.

Governor Jiri Rusnok said in a media interview published on Monday that he expected the main interest rate could go up by another 75 basis points or more from the current 5.75% at the June 22 meeting.

Benda said an interest rate differential versus the euro zone was important to sustain the currency's exchange rate, which was an important factor for import prices.

He said he would like to see a firmer exchange rate which would be compatible with the current interest rate setting in securing the return of inflation to the bank's 2% target. Inflation stood at 14.2% in April and is expected above 15% in May.

(Reporting by Jan Lopatka, Editing by Michael Kahn)

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