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Czech koruna at nine-month lows, S&P downgrades outlook for Hungary’s sovereign rating

Czech koruna at nine-month lows, S&P downgrades outlook for Hungary’s sovereign rating

22.03.2013 11:41

All CE currencies weakened yesterday, while each regional currency had to cope with slightly different problems. And those can multiply as situation in Cyprus is very fluid and German hawkish stance quite firm. The koruna slipped to nine-month lows yesterday. The Czech currency depreciated mostly due to discouraging PMI figures reported from the euro area, particularly from Germany. The Czech economy has had since decades well established and intensive trade connections with its western neighbor and that is why the koruna has been very sensitive to German economic performance. In this respect, it is also worth noting that a respected benchmark of business confidence in Germany – the Ifo index - has disappointed too, which implies that the koruna may extend its losses – perhaps up to the EUR/CZK 26.0 level.

The Polish forex market picked up on Minutes from the latest NBP meeting that delivered a very surprising 50 bps rate cut. Unlike the Minutes showing a new neutral stance, after the MPC meeting some members did not rule out the possibility of yet another interest rate adjustment, should the incoming data point to weaker output or lower inflation were those contained in the March projection. This scenario might be actually in place as the (nominal) February retail sales surprisingly fell 0.8% year-on-year.

Last, but not least the forint has eased as the S&P agency put Hungary’s credit rating on negative watch. The Agency indicated that recent changes in the Hungarian policy framework could weaken confidence of investors and mediumterm economic growth prospects, increasing thereby potential for a downgrade.

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