Forint back to range on interbank market

MNB

The forint was trading at 312.27 to the euro late Monday on the interbank forex market, down from 311.37 late Friday and 311.28 late Sunday. Also at 311.28 to the euro early Monday, the forint moved between 311.28 and 312.48 a four-day low.

The Hungarian currency fell back to its recent range above 310 to the euro from an eight-week high just under it earlier on Friday as investors were disappointed that Standard & Poor's did not lift the country's credit rating late Friday after expectations were low, but hopes high, for a surprise upgrade.

S&P said in its statement that it could upgrade Hungary if the government introduces policies that encourage investment and promote sustainable growth but could also cut it if economic recovery weakens or if it sees faster credit withdrawal by banks.

The forint was also caught up in a general wariness towards emerging currencies as new concerns over China's economic growth triggered some risk aversion.

A warning from the ECB over the weekend that government bond buying could still not be a part of its quantitative easing effort from October cut hopes for a positive fallout from the increase of liquidity.

Monday's recommendations were mixed.

BLNP Paribas has increased its overweight recommendation on Hungarian sovereign bonds, saying that he country's debt position could lead to a ratings upgrade within 12 to 18 months. It called Hungary a "re-emerging star" in a note on Monday.

Erste penciled in HUF 307 to the euro by the year's end, saying Hungary needs a stronger HUF and lower-than-planned 2014 budget deficit to reduce its public debt.

Meanwhile, Citigroup said the forint was likely to underperform emerging peers as the Hungarian government wants banks to convert households' foreign-currency loans into forint debt.

And Goldman Sachs surmised that an eventual and comprehensive solution to

Hungary's household forex debt problems and success with the current channeling of domestic money into medium-term local-currency government debt may lead to more tolerance for HUF weakness and volatility on the Hungarian central bank's and government's part. Fundamental factors point to more HUF weakness in the medium term and Goldman remains long-term bearish on the forint, the house said.

The forint traded at 243.54 to the dollar, down from 242.71 late Friday and 242.45 late Sunday. On Monday, it moved between 241.97 and 243.66, a four-day low.

It was quoted at 258.65 to the Swiss franc, down from 257.85 late Friday and 257.83 late Sunday. Its range on Monday was 257.73 to 259.11, a four-day low.

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