On Tuesday, Central European currencies posted negligible losses as risk appetite in global markets decreased. Higher than expected inflation in Hungary had a small impact on the forint - the currency has been mostly driven by global sentiment in recent sessions. Meanwhile, the zloty closed virtually unchanged at EUR/PLN 4.18. Regarding the Polish currency, the NBP president Marek Belka echoed previous comments of Deputy Finance Minister Radziwill and confirmed that the Ministry is about to exchange the money from EU funds through the central bank instead selling it directly in the market in the second and the third quarter. However, Radziwill had said earlier this year that the Ministry would exchange the most of the funds in the first and the fourth quarter.
According to the fresh figures, the Czech economy grew by 0.5% Y/Y in Q4/2011. Meanwhile, the Hungarian economy grew by 1.4% Y/Y in the respective period, i.e. above market expectations. The growth of the Czech economy was, as in previous quarters, driven mainly by foreign demand. As concerns the figure for the full year, it showed GDP growth of 1.7%.
As far as the rest of today’s calendar is concerned, the figure on Polish inflation will be released in the afternoon. We estimate that inflation decelerated significantly in the first month of this year, according to our forecasts. Although prices could increase by up to 0.6% m/m, the significant base effect (inflation soared by 1.2% in January last year) should prevail, and thus prices might go up by 4% Y/Y. As usual, the rise in food prices (+1% M/M) is expected to be crucial. By contrast, transport prices, which might only go up slightly this time, owing to the appreciation of the zloty, could have a fairly positive effect on inflation. As concerns the inflation outlook for 2012, we predict its average rate at 3.8% this year.