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The Slovak koruna was stable, close to the level of EUR/SKK 36.30 on Tuesday

2.11.2006 9:35

On Tuesday, the Slovak koruna was stable, close to the level of EUR/SKK 36.30 as investors were waiting for the NBS decision regarding rates.

The NBS surprised the market as it left interest rates unchanged while the majority of the market together with us had expected a 25 bps hike. The main reason behind the decision was sharp koruna appreciation (roughly 3% over the past month) and lower energy prices. On the other hand, the bank still sees demand inflation risks stemming from wage growth. Moreover, the economy will remain with a positive output gap for a longer time. The 2006 HICP forecast was slightly increased to 4.1% (versus 3.9% in July projection).

But the more important 2007 inflation forecast (from the point of Maastricht criteria) was slightly lowered to 2.6% vs. previously expected 2.8%. As the full medium-term prognosis is not yet available, we don’t know any further details. But it’s possible that the new forecasts do not include gas price cuts by 3.1% in January 2007 as this news was released on Tuesday.

What about the next steps from the NBS? The rate decision and related comments do not alter our interest-rate view: we feel that the rates are close to their peak. The abovementioned demand inflation risks will probably keep the bank on a tightening bias. We don’t exclude a 25 bps hike by year-end. This will mainly depend on the further koruna development. Note that the exchange rate accounts for two thirds of the real monetary conditions index of the NBS. If the currency will continue to appreciate, it is possible that we don’t see any further hikes.

Regarding trading today, the market will chew on the NBS statement and wait for the ECB decision and its comments this afternoon. Nevertheless, we do not expect a significant deviation from the current market levels and look for sideways trading.

(CSOB - Investment research)

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