Forint continues falling after dark Wednesday


After tumbling along with other emerging-market currencies past a rate of HUF 306 to €1 due to a surprisingly aggressive rate hike by Turkey’s central bank but recovering before 11am CET, the forint weakened past HUF 310 to €1 by 2:30pm CET Wednesday to plummet to its lowest rate in more than two years.

By 5pm CET, the forint was trading at HUF 308.26 to €1, down from the HUF 302.70 rate of about 24 hours earlier.

At the same time, the forint traded at HUF 225.62 to the US dollar, down from 221.68 late Tuesday. On Wednesday, trading of the forint fluctuated between HUF 221.47 and HUF 227.60 to $1, the latter an almost five-month low. Yesterday, the national currency dipped to a 1½-year low against the Swiss franc in hitting a HUF 253.55 rate, but by 5pm CET had gotten back up to HUF 252.40 to CHF 1.

National news service MTI ultimately chalked up the forint’s marked decline on the day to not only the Turkish move, but also because “investors, unsatisfied with base rate hikes in Turkey, India, Brazil and in southern Africa, continued to flee riskier assets with real rates deemed too narrow in the background.”

Today, local business news outlet puts things regarding the current value of the forint into perspective, but a grim perspective it is indeed. As the accompany chart (per Portfolio) shows and English-language text on the website explains, “the forint has crossed north of 310 only twice [in the past six years]. The first plunge through that mark took place in 2008-2009 when crises engulfed global money and capital markets.

The second breach of that level came in late 2011/early 2012 at the height of the Eurozone debt crisis, when market confidence in Hungary was in shambles due to the government’s early foreign currency mortgage repayment program and skirmishes with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”  

As of 11:30am CET today, the forint was trading at HUF 311.95 to €1.

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