Government says ctrl bank sole authority over reserves


The central bank has an exclusive authority to manage international reserves and the government has no intention to use the reserves, and the government considers unquestionable the independence of the central bank, the government spokesman's office said in response to a question raised by an opposition MP on Thursday.

The government is interested in Hungary maintaining the highest possible reserves thereby enhancing economic stability, the office said, noting the €388m rise of the reserves in May as a favorable development.

The office cited an early January statement by the National Economy Ministry stating that the reserves cannot be used to fund growth enhancing programs. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán reaffirmed the same stand a few days later after discussions with National Bank of Hungary (MNB) governor András Simor, stating that the central bank has exclusive power to manage the reserves, the office recalled.

Orbán only suggested using some specific financial techniques (such as mortgage bond purchases, granting collateralized loans) to promote growth to the MNB senior officials at the end of last year, the statement said.

Gábor Scheiring, a representative of the opposition green party LMP asked National Economy Minister Matolcsy and chief negotiator to the IMF talks Varga to state the government stand over the optimum level of the country's international reserves and whether it has any intention to use them. He said a controversy over the control of the reserves could be a factor in the delay of the talks on IMF financial assistance, and said he still has the impression that the cabinet has not given up "the idea raised last December to spend part of the €35.5 billion reserves".

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