Romania's central bank lowered its annual inflation forecast for this year, driven primarily by lower food and fuel prices, but said it will not return within target before the fourth quarter of next year, Governor Mugur Isarescu said on Thursday.

The bank expects inflation at 4.7% in December, compared with a previous forecast of 4.8%. It sees inflation at 3.5% at end-2025, the upper limit of its 1.5%-3.5% target band.

Earlier this week, policymakers kept the benchmark interest rate on hold at 7.00%. (Reporting by Luiza Ilie; Editing by Jason Hovet)