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The Hungarian forint lost ground yesterday

1.3.2006 10:00

The Hungarian forint lost ground yesterday as the decision of the neighboring Slovak central bank to hike interest rates by 50 bps hit the currency. A significant drop of the BUX (-3.4 %) also added to the worsening in the sentiment on the Hungarian FX market. On the other hand, the forint shrugged-off a 25 bps rate cut in Poland, announced yesterday afternoon.

Intra-day: the forint lost ground from the start of session but this negative trend was accelerated by the higher-than-expected 50 bps rate hike in Slovakia. The rationale for the price action was easy to understand: higher official rates in the neighboring country with perfect fundamentals makes the forint less attractive for investors who allocate their assets into Central Europe. Hence, the EUR/HUF pair opened at 252.50 and headed north to the 253 territory. This negative sentiment also prevailed this morning as the EURHUF pair opened above the 253.50 level.

Today, the eco calendar is again very busy both in Hungary and in core markets. Initially, the market will react to the preliminary headline GDP data for the fourth quarter of 2005 (4.3 %, slightly higher than expected). Later on, all markets will take a close look on the release of the February Manufacturing PMI. The previous figure was strong (53.7) but the index faced some deterioration. Given the latest strong German IFO we do not expect the index to ease further to the 50 level. Otherwise it would be a clearly negative signal for the forint. As concern releases on core markets they might influence the domestic bond market (and why indirectly also the HUF). So it is worth also to watch core markets as the calendar is heavy there. Technically, the EUR/HUF meets resistance at the 254.0 level, while the next one should stand at 254.31 (11-weeks high). SKK spikes to all-time highs.

(CSOB - Investment research)

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