On Monday, Central European markets remained under pressure as there was too little hard news to stay happy about. The political situation in Italy and Greece had changed, but this doesn’t mean that the economic problems have disappeared. Moreover, S&P put Hungary on negative credit watch, which also undermined sentiment and lust for regional assets. As a result, regional currencies weakened. Forint led losses and leapt to 316 EUR/HUF and IRS curve moved higher by 20 bps. At the same time, money markets are pricing in more than 130bps rate hikes for the next months. Moreover, the forint reached a new all-time low of 317.90 EUR/HUF overnight despite other regional currencies weakened only moderately. Fidesz faction leader Mr Janos Lazar however said this morning that the current situation is different from what we had a yearago and that if the IMF funding is cheaper than it may be worth using it. This is an important change in rhetoric in our view and may help to rebuild confidence among investors, albeit it will take time and we still see rate hikes necessary.
Regarding today’s macrodata, the Czech Statistical Office said that the Czech economy stagnated in Q3/2011. Growth of the Czech economy is driven mainly by foreign demand and domestic demand remains weak. On year-on-year basis, the Czech economy grew by 1.5% and fell short of CNB’s expectations (1.7% y/y). That suggests that the alternative scenario outlined in the latest inflation report becomes even more likely. We believe that the annual growth of the Czech economy might reach 1.8% and we expect even weaker result next year. In Hungary, GDP growth was better than expected in the third quarter as probably agricutlure sector had a good harvest. This 1.4% Y/Y growth rate means that the yearly average could be above 1.5% Y/Y and the quarterly expansion may help Hungary to avoid a recession in 2012. We expect 0.5% growth rate in 2012.