The koruna stagnated during most of the week. The euro-koruna rate hovered slightly above 24.50 with modest volatility. On Friday, the Czech currency registered some gains but still remains close to the last week level.
In the region, the most interesting topic is monetary policy. The Hungarian central bank kept interest rates on hold, as expected. There seems to be accord in the MPC as the bankers did not discuss any change of rates. The baseline scenario now considers keeping rates unchanged for a longer period of time. The March meeting was the first one with the newly appointed members. The big personnel changes suggested speculations about influence on monetary policy. However, the meeting did not show any significant surprise or change in policy bias. The rates are seen as stable. (2059 GBp, 0,64%) week, the Polish central bank will probably lift interest rates. The recent comments were not too hawkish but the upward direction was confirmed.
Monetary policy is an important issue also on the euro-dollar market. The ECB has already provided very strong indications that interest rates will go higher at the April meeting (scheduled for next week). Some more comments confirming the hike have come this week and supported the euro. However, the Fed seems to be changing bias as some of its representatives suggested withdrawing record monetary stimulus. They talked about both cutting the QE2 program and increasing the interest rates.
The recent US macro releases were mixed but the overall picture is positive thanks to the good labor market data.
Speculations about changes in the Fed´s policy may therefore continue, which is positive for the dollar. The comments from the Fed scheduled for next week will likely be more important than before because market will wait for any new hints on support for the tightening.
For the koruna, the expected hike in the Eurozone may be negative because the interest rate differential will worsen. Moreover, the Poles will also hike and the CNB was recently rather dovish, which might initiate some flows from the koruna to the zloty.
Recent news from the Eurozone periphery was not good. Three countries Portugal, Greece and Ireland saw their sovereign ratings downgraded by S&P . Revision of Portugal fiscal data revealed that the deficits in last few years were worse than previously stated. On Friday Portugal sold one-year bonds but the auction confirmed that the market yields are growing considerably and will probably force the country to apply for international aid. Ireland published results of its bank stress tests. They revealed that the sector will need to raise additional capital, but the amount is not surprising. The debt crisis remains an issue and has negative impact on the euro-dollar. However, the discussion about interest rates seems to be more important for the pair. On top of that, the most important points on the next week´s agenda are the ECB meeting and the Fed comments. Other events should only have minor influence on trading.
Some Czech macro releases are also scheduled, it is real-economy figures and the expectations are quite bullish. If confirmed by the data, the koruna might get some support.