Yesterday, the Czech crown stayed more or less unmoved near 24.12 EUR/CZK. This morning, the Czech currency seems to appreciate the euro’s strength ahead of the Greek government’s confidence vote. The further development on the EUR/USD should be crucial for the koruna in the session ahead. For the week ahead the CNB meeting scheduled for Thursday, remains in focus. We think the hawks should continue to stay in minority, given weak domestic demand, high unemployment, moderate wage pressures and growing external risks. That is why the space for further gains of the koruna seems limited to us.
Interestingly, the Czech Parliament starts a debate about health and pension reform. Let us recall that there was a general strike against these reforms last week. Part of the reform should be a VAT hike scheduled for the beginning of next year. Yesterday, finance minister Kalousek indicated that the government could hike the VAT even higher than expected, because of government losses from eventual Greece default (though the Czech R. support Greece only marginal through EFSM fund).
The Hungarian forint started the week close to recent lows at 269.00-269.50 on the back of renewed fears from Greece, but the market later received some support and the currency strengthened to 267.50.
The central bank decided to keep the base rate unchanged yesterday at 6.00%. It lowered the growth forecast for 2.6% from previous 3.1% due to recent slowdown in the global economy, which is close to our 2.7% growth projection. On inflation, it lowered this year’s forecast from 4.0% to 3.9%, but increased the 2012 forecast to 3.6%. It however repeated that it sees that 3% target achievable by end-2012 with the current interest rate path.
Overall, not much changed on the monetary policy front, the central bank seems to have stacked in a wait-and-see mode. Bonds did not react much to this and yields rose about 4-5bps at the long-end on the weaker forint.
Even though the EUR/PLN pair managed to breach through resistance at 3.99 early in the morning on Monday, the zloty eventually erased most of the losses and closed at 3.98 EUR/PLN level. Intraday trading even saw the EUR/PLN currency pair at 4 EUR/PLN level, i.e. the highest since mid April 2011.
Regarding the latest comments made by polish central bankers, Andrzej Kazmierczak said on Monday that the NBP should continue to tighten monetary policy as recent moves so far failed to bring the rate of inflation closer to the target. Kazmierczak added that he was determined to continue monetary policy tightening and that May’s inflation data had only strengthened his determination to do so. Hence, Kazmierczak confirmed a plurality of opinions among Polish central bankers as NBP’s governor Marek Belka said last week that the central bank should wait with further rate moves.
EUR/PLN: yesterday the pair broke temporary above the 3.99 resistance level