Forint retreats on interbank market

Analysis

The forint was trading at 305.99 to the euro late Friday on the interbank forex market, a tad down from 305.89 late Thursday. At 305.95 to the euro early Friday, the forint moved between 305.54 and 307.05. It reached a near three-month high at 303.76 last Friday. It was level with that of late last Friday, after gaining 1.46% the previous week. It is up 3.48% from the end of last year, after it lost 6.12% last year, and 1.95% in 2013.

Along with Poland's zloty the Hungarian currency retreated slightly on Friday, with investors reluctant to build new positions ahead of the agreed start of a ceasefire in neighbouring Ukraine on Sunday.

The euro-dollar cross was slightly supportive against the US currency.

News of the truce on Thursday triggered a broad-based rally in the markets of Central Europe, but investors want to see if it holds.

The situation overshadowed regional economic output data, with Hungary leading the pack with preliminary Q4 and 2014 GDP figures way above expectations.

The figures did not have a major market impact as Ukraine is the overwhelming factor and investors also watch Greece's debt talks, analysts said.

The forecast-beating Hungarian GDP figure did not quash expectations of a resumption of monetary easing in Hungary and elsewhere in the region while analysts also agree that rising demand for higher-yielding assets as a result of the ECB's upcoming quantitative easing would make ample room for local central banks to manoeuver.

The forint traded at 268.14 to the dollar, a hair up from 268.25 late Thursday. On Friday, it moved between 267.24, a one-week high, and 269.19. It reached a one-month high at 265.81 on Thursday last week.

It was quoted at 288.55 to the Swiss franc, down from 288.14 late Thursday. Its range on Friday was 287.76 to 289.59. On Thursday, at 287.21, it reached the highest since its crash to an all-time low at 378.49 on January 15, when the Swiss central bank scrapped its cap of 1.20 to the euro.

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