The Swiss National Bank’s announcement to keep the EUR/CHF exchange rate above 1.20 cheered foreign exchange markets in the CEE region, especially in the case of the zloty and the forint. This means that for an unspecified period, the Swiss franc will not strengthen further than 1.20 against the euro, which is limiting its appreciation to the regional currencies, as well. These are good news for Hungary, because its domestic demand could avoid a double dip with a broadly stable Swiss franc rate.
The Hungarian Prime Minister also announced new measures that are needed to meet this year’s deficit target after the slower growth path. The Economic Ministry estimated Ft100bn shortfall, which should be covered by Ft10bn dividend from the government’s stock package acquired from mandatory pension funds, Ft10bn higher excise duty on fuel, tobacco and alcohol, Ft40bn from spending freeze at Ministries, Ft40bn more efficient VAT collection. Overall, the new measures contain risk of implementation in our view, while the government’s quick reaction shows strong commitment to keep the budget on track. More important will be to see the 2012 budget due at the end of the month, which should target a 2.5% of GDP deficit without one-off measures.
This morning Hungary also had the preliminary output data from July, which was 0.3% Y/Y unadjusted and 2.7% Y/Y if adjusted for working-days. The adjusted data shows a little acceleration from June, which could ease some of the concerns of the current slowdown, but still growth in Hungary is likely be tepid for the coming quarters.