Aug 3 (Reuters) - Romania's central bank left its benchmark interest rate ROINTR=ECI unchanged at 6.25 percent as expected on Wednesday, the highest among its neighbours to help soften the effect of the euro zone debt crisis.
All 16 analysts polled by Reuters see the central bank holding rates. The median forecast until the end of the first quarter of 2012 is also for rates to stay on hold.
The central bank is expected to cut rates in April-June 2012, with the median forecast for a cut to 6 percent.
Although June inflation came below market expectations at 7.9 percent and the central bank currently sees it at 5.1 percent at end-2011, the bank has limited scope to ease off this year mainly because of planned hikes in regulated prices and a debt crisis in the euro zone.
The central bank, which has kept rates unchanged since May 2010, is expected to issue a detailed statement at around 1200 GMT.