MNBʼs Balog sees need for longer easing cycle

Analysis

National Bank of Hungary (MNB) deputy governor Ádám Balog (pictured) said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday that he believed the central bankʼs new easing cycle needs to be longer, Hungarian news agency MTI reported yesterday.

"At this moment I definitely see a need for a longer easing cycle, taking into account that this (disinflationary risks) is a widespread risk, and at this moment we cannot see which scenario will actually materialise," Mr Balog said in the interview which Reuters published yesterday. He also said that the forintʼs recent firming pointed "in the direction of a longer, rather than shorter easing cycle".

The MNB cut its key rate by 15 bp to 1.95% at a policy meeting late last month. The cut was the first rate change since the MNB wound up an easing cycle last summer.

Balog told Reuters the new easing cycle would "definitely" consist of several steps, though not necessarily 15 bp ones.

"I would not like the main message to be that (Hungarian rate cuts) will be always 15 basis points. Could be a bit bigger or a bit smaller," he said.

Balog also said he could not rule out an extension beyond the end of 2015 of the MNBʼs Funding for Growth Scheme, though it did not want to exceed the HUF 2 trillion program cap.

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