Forint mixed on interbank market


The forint was trading at 311.08 to the euro late Monday on the interbank forex market, down from 309.70 late Friday and 310.28 late Sunday. Also at 310.28 to the euro early Monday, the forint moved between 310.07 and 312.27, after a more than five-week high at 308.79 on Friday. It hit an all-time low at 327.62 on January 15.

Over last week it gained 2.84% in euro terms after easing 0.60% the previous week.

The rebound of the euro from an 11-year low against the dollar in the morning, pressure on the Russian rouble because of renewed fights in Ukraine, and euro zone uncertainty in the wake of Sunday's elections in Greece made the Hungarian currency to retreat from multi-week highs against the euro it reached last week when the ECB announced its quantitative easing program. 

But the euro helped the forint against the dollar and the franc.

The governor of the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) has aired plans to extend the central bank's cheap SME loan programme, the Funding for Growth Scheeme (FGS) to "big business" as well in a weekend radio interview.

Analysts are unanimous in expecting no rate change at the National Bank of Hungary's (MNB) next policy meeting on Tuesday, but some still say that deflation and a relatively strong forint versus the euro after the ECB's announcement last week makes room for easing.

"We still expect a total of 30bp in (Hungarian) rate cuts in Q1 ... given the deflationary environment and the impact of the expanded asset purchase programme of the ECB," Raiffeisen said in a note on Monday.

The ECB's QE announcement gave a boost to Central and Eastern European fixed income and foreign exchange markets, and can further fuel their bond markets and help some CEE currencies to appreciate, Erste Group said. Erste analysts believe that the ECB's step may also have implications on monetary policy. If currencies manage to appreciate further, then the risk of rate cut(s) in Poland and Hungary could actually become a reality. Nonetheless, Erste prefers to see the sustained positive developments on markets before changing its forecasts to an outright expectation of monetary easing for these countries, it said on Monday.

The forint traded at 275.64 to the dollar, up down from 276.32 late Friday and 278.36 late Sunday. On Monday, it moved between 275.44 and 278.46 after reaching its weakest point, at 279.57 on Sunday, since its latest all-time low of 280.33 on January 15.

It was quoted at 306.70 to the Swiss franc, up from 313.38 late Friday and 316.32 late Sunday. Its range on Monday was 306.70, a ten-day high, to 316.78. It plunged to an all-time low at 378.49 on January 15.

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