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The Hungarian forint firmed as emerging markets continued to consolidate after last week’s falls

The Hungarian forint firmed as emerging markets continued to consolidate after last week’s falls

28.6.2006 9:40
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The Hungarian forint firmed as emerging markets continued to consolidate after last week’s falls and held a relatively tight range around 279.6 EUR/HUF throughout the whole session. New information concerning changes in VAT hike plans had no impact on the forint. Government officially confirmed that it plans to raise top rate of VAT, which was cut by 5% in January 2006, from 20% to 23% and middle rate only by 2% from 15% to 17%. According to government calculations the new proposal should bring, in comparison to the original proposal, extra income of around HUF 30 bn to state budget.

This modification as such is not very compelling but may undermine investor’s confidence in fiscal package, when the government is ready to make changes so easily and so soon. It is worth mentioning that late in the afternoon Education Ministry disclosed its plans to introduce tuition fees in higher education from September 2008. The question is if this proposal is possible to put in practice, since last introduction of tuition fees led in mid-1990s to large student protests and was abolished by successive conservative government. Today the forint will be most probably driven by global factors. Planned publication of social compensation system including gas prices should come largely as market neutral. We expect that the forint will remain fragile but a weakening behind central parity is unlikely.

(CSOB - Investment research)

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