Optimistic expectations concerning the Greek debt swap bolstered regional currencies on Thursday. As usually, the zloty and the forint benefited the most - the EUR/HUF cross rate slid back below 295. Apart from the positive sentiment, comments of chief Hungarian negotiator Fellegi, who is involved in talks with the IMF, played a positive role. He reiterated that the government was determined to solve disputes over several controversial laws in order to be able to reach additional funds. An informal meeting of Fellegi with the IMF officials is scheduled for March 16.
As regards the calendar today, it is well filled with both regional and global data. As for fresh Czech data, inflation in February showed an increase from 3.5% Y/Y in January to 3.7% Y/Y mainly on rising food and fuel prices. Despite the fact that inflation is seen far above the target of the central bank (2%), we do not expect any change in the CNB’s policy stance although we estimate the rate of inflation might rise further in months ahead. However, inflation pressures could be curbed by a weakening demand as we expect that average gross wages will decrease in real terms in 2012.