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Czech koruna eases ahead of central bank meeting

Czech koruna eases ahead of central bank meeting

23.06.2011 10:41

Czech Republic
The Czech koruna closed above the 55-day moving average (24.94 EUR/CZK) as equity markets came to defensive mode and the US dollar gained after Fed meeting. At the same time, the auction of the government bond benchmark (maturing in 2014) met solid demand.
Today, all (domestic) eyes will be on the CNB. We expect the doves to retain their majority on the board and after widely expected “no change” verdict also the comments at the press conference should put more emphasis on risks to the growth rather than risks to the inflation. We continue to stick to our base scenario of very moderate tightening in 2011 (+25 bps in August and November), although given current external conditions the risks are clearly skewed to even more moderate pace.
As regards the possible reaction: the Czech koruna may try to retest 24.38 EUR/CZK (June highs) after the CNB meeting, but we rather believe in ongoing range bound trading on the Czech currency in the upcoming sessions. On the other hand Czech FRA rates might stop to move up, which has been the price action of this week so far.

The Hungarian forint continued to trade sideways as neither foreign nor domestic news was able to push it out of the 266.00-267.00 range. Bonds have also remained unchanged despite the central bank becoming more dovish in its Inflation Report. The report says that inflation is higher only because of supply-side shocks and demanddriven inflation is below 2% in the economy.
It was bit surprising that the central bank has become concerned about growth as it lowered the growth outlook for 2012 to 2.7%, below our 3.1% projection. The growth chart even contains a slowdown of the economy in the second half of 2012 on fiscal tightening measures. The annual growth rate is expected to drop to 2% in the last quarter of 2012, which is probably the most pessimistic forecast at the moment. The central bank had an optimistic growth forecast before because of the positive impact from car manufacturing investments, so the change is a quite surprising.

The Polish zloty was trading in a relatively narrow band between 3.98 EUR/PLN and 3.99 EUR/PLN for the most of the session on Wednesday. Regarding yesterday’s figures, retail sales in May surprised on the upside (13.8% y/y vs. expected 13.1% y/y), whereas unemployment slightly disappointed (12.2% vs. 12.1%). Core inflation rose by 0.3 percentage point in May compared to April and reached 2.4% y/y.
We believe that the zloty might be trading close to current levels in sessions ahead (at least until the “Errors and omissions issue” is solved). Prospective negative impact of stronger U.S. dollar on the zloty might be, in our view, rather temporary. We consider yesterday’s Fed assessment as close to what had already been discounted in (currency) markets. So, the market reaction was in the first place technical in nature.

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