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The Polish zloty got off to a flying start of the session on Monday

The Polish zloty got off to a flying start of the session on Monday

25.04.2006 9:46

The Polish zloty got off to a flying start of the session on Monday, underpinned by the stronger forint and the gently softer dollar, hit a fresh month-long high to the euro at 3.8540 EUR/PLN. Later in the day though the EUR/PLN pair inched back to pre-opening levels for a brief moment following the surprising revision by S&P of Poland’s long-term foreign currency debt rating perspective from positive down to stable. The agency explained that the decision reflected the ongoing political uncertainty which might pose a threat to fiscal stability and the deteriorating perspective for the EMU entry.

One might argue whether the revision itself was appropriate or not (and probably the answer would have been ‘yes’) although it’s timing seems at least awkward. First of all the political outlook has not changed in a way that would substantiate such a move just now. Moreover the economy has successfully decoupled from politics and is pushing forward at an ever stronger pace. It’s true that the ruling PiS and the parliamentary fringe groups have not yet sealed a coalition deal but eventually they should reach some sort of an agreement. It seems that it would make more sense to evaluate the deal and the political outlook then.

On the other hand S&P has been saying quite clearly that despite the positive perspective it would not upgrade Poland’s rating until more orthodox fiscal measures were put into action - and none have been implemented to date. All in all the revision itself was not nearly as much of a surprise as the timing, hence the market’s fairly conservative reaction to the news - at first the zloty weakened by 0.5% to the euro but eventually managed to claw back a large portion of the loss. All remaining data this month will be released on Wednesday so we would bet on a another calm range-bound session today, with emerging market sentiment on top of the zloty’s agenda. The Slovak koruna was only little changed on Monday.

The local currency was not inspired by the elections result in Hungary. Additionally, the rating outlook downgrade in Poland remained without reaction on the Slovak markets. However, the regional sentiment should stay the main driving force for the koruna. Today, NBS should keep its horses on hold and we expect the rates to stay at 3.50%. However, the tightening cycle should be prolonged in May or June. Also watch the current account figures and new central bank macroeconomic forecast. NBS may shift its inflation forecast higher.

(CSOB - Investment research)

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