On Friday, the zloty again erased losses posted after a surprising rate cut, the forint stayed close to EUR/HUF 300 level and the koruna eventually closed barely changed at 55 days average at EUR/CZK 25.43. Regarding the Czech currency, the trading was quite interesting on Friday. While the EUR/CZK currency pair was even seen at support at EUR/CZK 25.38 in intraday trading, it revived an “old trading pattern” and later in the session weakened towards 55 days average as the US dollar strengthened after the release of upbeat US nonfarm payrolls figure for February.
Today in early trading, the Czech currency further weakens after the release of inflation figures for February. The data showed further deceleration of price growth to 1.7% Y/Y and 0.1% M/M. As for the structure of the monthly figure, the prices were supported mainly by higher fuel prices while the main drag on inflation was that from food prices. The most interesting piece of information, however, is that this year’s VAT hike had almost no impact on inflation (unlike the previous year) which indicates that retailers probably are afraid to further undermine already weak consumers’ demand.
Regarding the market impact, the koruna weakened to EUR/CZK 25.55 after the release. Let us recall that the Czech National Bank (CNB) foresees average inflation for the first quarter around 2 percent. That is to say, the current figures create some room for a new round of dovish comments of CNB board members.
Meanwhile, it seems that new MNB president György Matolcsy moved to solidify his authority by stripping two vice presidents appointed by his predecessor of their areas of responsibility. The market interprets this move as an attempt to remove any opposition to unorthodox policy. As a result the forint weakened and reached levels near 302 this morning.