POLAND'S PRICE SPIRAL COOLS AS ECONOMIC REFORMS BITE

POLAND'S PRICE SPIRAL COOLS AS ECONOMIC REFORMS BITE

Poland's harsh economic austerity measures are bringing soaring prices under control, but Warsaw said Friday it needs more relief from its crippling foreign debt.

Deputy Finance Minister Wojciech Misiag said prices rose between 5 percent and 6 percent in March, after monthly leaps of 78.6 percent in January and 23.9 percent in February."I can say that March has been successful . . . We are really close to the stabilization of prices," Mr. Misiag told a news conference.

He quoted Peter Hole, head of an International Monetary Fund team that visited Poland this week, as saying the reform program was "on track and going smoothly."

Poles have suffered steep falls in real wages since the Solidarity-led government introduced its reform package on Jan. 1. Inflation surged over the next two months, hitting a record annual 1,266 percent in February.