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Changes at the helm of NBH weaken forint, koruna ignores governor’s remarks on FX interventions

Changes at the helm of NBH weaken forint, koruna ignores governor’s remarks on FX interventions

5.3.2013 12:25

Yesterday, the Hungarian forint was the worst performing currency in the CEE region. Although market´s response to the nomination of the new NBH governor Gyorgy Matolcsy last Friday was very moderate, it is obvious now that the change would incur some losses for the EUR/HUF pair. Besides a new governor, two other changes are expected to take place at the NBH Board. Gyula Pleschinger, state secretary at the Economy Ministry, is a likely candidate to replace Ferenc Karvalits, whose mandate expires on March 27, while Adam Balog is expected to replace Julia Király in July.

By the time all NBH members will be appointed by Prime Minister Orbán. The market is also worried again about households’ FX loans in Hungary. PM Orbán said yesterday that the government would have to keep up talks with banks on further help to FX debtors. With the new leadership of the central bank, markets are scared that the NBH will use FX reserves to finance this policy. Last time, the government decided to help households by issuing debt denominated in foreign currencies at the end of 2011. The NBH was forced to sell foreign currencies to commercial banks in order to neutralize the effect of prematurely repaid mortgages and stop further easing of the Hungarian currency. The fears mentioned above along with nervousness over Italy pushed
the EUR/HUF pair to 298.

In contrast to the forint, the Czech koruna and the Polish zloty have remained stable. The koruna ignored remarks of the CNB governor Singer that the Czech central bank would probably need to intervene against the currency in the second half of 2013. In Poland, markets are waiting for NBP’s decision on rates tomorrow.

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