On Tuesday, regional currencies experienced rather calm session. The Hungarian forint underperformed its CE peers and depreciated by about 1% as the new government plan regarding repayment of FX loans of Hungarian households. In a comment, rating agency S&P said that the proposal might hurt the economy and hence threaten sustainability of public finances.
Interestingly, the Czech koruna posted negligible losses despite the fact that the Czech National Bank’s Vice Governor Hampl did not rule out further easing of monetary conditions. Hampl said that if the global situation worsens, he could imagine even softer monetary conditions so that the bank was able to reach its goals. Moreover, Hampl’s fellow banker Kamil Janacek said in the interview published today in the morning that the situation was more complicated now. Janacek, who had voted for a rate hike in past several meetings, seemed to change his mind as his latest comments sound rather neutral. Let us remind that markets partially bet on a rate cut in about 9 months as a spread between FRA9x12 and Pribor 3M is currently slightly negative (5 bps).
Both the Polish and Hungarian inflation readings were higher-than-expected. Regarding the Polish figure, it came at 4.3% y/y despite the fact that a seasonal decrease in food prices was higher than expected. Nevertheless, a modest surprise did not have a significant impact on the zloty’s trading. As far as the zloty is concerned, officials stress that the recent weakening of the zloty is not related to the fundamentals of the Polish economy. A member of the NBP board said yesterday that the central bank had no need to intervene in favour of the zloty and Finance Minister Rostowski assured markets that the weakening of the zloty had increased a debt a bit but not in any really dangerous way. Let us remind that the government strives to keep the public debt below the legal limit of 55% of GDP, and a weak local currency may fairly complicate reaching this task.