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Forint eases on interbank market

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The forint was trading at 311.69 to the euro late Monday on the interbank forex market, down from final quotes at 310.70 on Friday and 310.76 on Sunday.

At 310.84 to the euro early Monday, the forint moved between 310.21 and 311.90, a six-day low, after an almost one-month high at 308.43 Friday intraday.

Correcting a gain of about 0.7% last week, the Hungarian currency drifted downs after Fitch Ratings dashed hopes late on Friday of an upgrade in Hungaryʼs sovereign debt rating to investment level from junk.

The loss was limited as Hungarian asset prices had already retreated earlier on Friday after Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said that he did not expect an upgrade from Fitch.

The strong dollar puts a lid on the forintʼs upside anyway, analysts add.

The November Financial Stability Report of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) may have also contributed to the drift as it highlighted the central bankʼs efforts to widen its programmes that pump easy money into the system to revive the presently moribund bank lending to the corporate sector.

The Hungarian central bankʼs overall dovish stance is a downside risk to the forint, combined with the surprisingly weak third quarter Hungarian GDP figure released about a week ago, analysts say.

The forint traded at 293.79 to the dollar, down from final quotes at 291.85 on Friday and 292.22 on Sunday. On Monday, it moved between 291.77 and 293.84, the worst since November 6, when it tumbled to a more than fifteen year low at 294.40. Last Thursday it reached a ten-day high at 287.97.

It was quoted at 287.90 to the Swiss franc, down from 286.33 late Friday and 286.53 late Sunday. Its range on Monday was 286.37 to 287.90, a five-day low. Since its crash to an all-time low at 378.49 to the franc on January 15 when the Swiss central bank scrapped its cap of 1.20 to the euro, it reached the highest at 281.07 on February 26.

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