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Czech Watch - 14 June 2000

14.7.2000 8:30

Besides slightly better than expected numbers on industrial production, yesterday saw yet another postponement of the final Parliament's voting on the central bank law. The governor defended its independence in the parliament and deputies decided to vote today, to get some more time for smoked room deals. The Swiss police threw in a confirmation that the ODS indeed did have an account in Switzerland and that the ODS secretary indeed got CZK 45 bil. from the account. The ODS (and Parliament) chairman Vaclav Klaus denied to comment on the existence of the account, which existence he had been denying. If in doubt, deny?
The currency market analyzed what a central bank official meant by declaring the koruna "too strong" on Wednesday. The koruna first lost 10 hallers against the euro (falling from 35.55 to 35.65 CZK/EUR) only to recover the loss later in the afternoon when it strengthened to 36.50 CZK/EUR. The koruna did not, though, gained against the dollar and closed at 38 CZK/USD, 20 hallers weaker than at the Wednesday closing.
Another bearish day for Czech bonds - this was unsurprisingly the situation on Thursday's market. Industrial output released that day was on the high of the expectations range, which meant another bearish sign for the market-makers. However, the fall was not that fast as previous ones as the market was looking for the results of Friday's government bond auction. There, the maximum acceptable yield was set to 6.95% on Monday, when the prices were considerably higher. In recent days, the move in yields was so significant that the current market yield is few basis points higher, which made Ministry of Finance up the yield to 7.00%, which is still unattractive for the market, however. This small move in acceptable yield caused another downfall on secondary market, and market-makers are desperately awaiting the auction. Moreover, the fall in other issues was also more than visible, as the whole yield curve shifted up, and although the longest issues were again the most losing, five-year bonds' downfall was only a fraction smaller. We remain bearish.
Current benchmark prices: MoF 6.75/05 99.35-65 (-20 bps), MoF 6.30/07 96.10-40 (-40 bps), MoF 6.40/10 96.20-50 (-35 bps).

(Ondrej Schneider and Dalimil Vyskovsky)

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