The Czech crown strengthened on Friday, in line with other regional currencies, supported by stronger equities and a weaker US dollar. The comments of the central bank governor on limited exposure of the Czech economy towards Greece were more or less ignored.
It is questionable, whether current optimism driven by weaker global figures and bets on looser monetary policy are sustainable. Even so we are somewhat cautiously watching the 200-day moving average at 24.55 EUR/CZK. If the pair breaks below, our short term call for 25.00 EUR/CZK would be probably over. Nevertheless widening interest rate differential should once again weigh on the Czech currency and should lead at least to the underperformance of the Czech koruna within the region. Meanwhile, Czech rates continue to fall across the whole curve. Interestingly, Czech CDS and SW spreads have remained stable despite quite dramatic developments in the euro periphery in recent weeks.
The Hungarian forint remained in recovery mode on Friday as risk appetite strengthened on global markets. The forint appreciated to the key 268.00 level and was able to cross it suggesting the formulation of a new appreciating trend. The bond market however remained in a bearish mode with yields narrowing the key 7.25% at the long-end as investors became more cautious about Hungary after the recent bull market exhausted.
This morning the Statistical Office released labour market data from the February- April period. The unemployment rate unexpectedly decreased to 11.4% from 11.6%, while the number of employed rose by 20k to 3.759m from 3.733m. Employment grew by 0.7% Y/Y underpinning the economy’s recovery path.
After hitting the highest level since mid April 2011, the EUR/PLN currency pair edged lower and closed last week’s trading at 3.97 EUR/PLN level. In an interview published today, Andrzej Raczko (NBP’s governor Belka’s advisor) said that the prospective revision of the balance of payments deficit (which is due to the end of June) should not change an assessment of the external balance. Raczko added that the current account deficit has been easily financed with inflow of European funds.
This week, the figure on GDP growth in Q1/2011 will be announced. We estimate that the Polish economy grew by 4.4% y/y. Nevertheless, apart from the EU debt crisis, the pace of the monetary tightening should remain the key driver for the zloty in the weeks ahead. In light of recent comments made by Polish central bankers, we can’t rule out that the NBP might decide to further increase interest rates as early as at June’s meeting.