Forint further ahead versus the euro

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The forint was trading at 309.37 to the euro late Thursday on the interbank forex market, up from 309.61 late Wednesday. At 309.58 to the euro early Thursday, the forint moved between 308.49, a more than three-week high, and 310.04.

A long way from a sixth more than five-month low within a week at 318.55 last week Wednesday, the Hungarian currency continued to heal wounds against the common currency pressured by the dollar, after the Greek parliament voted through a new bailout deal, partially offsetting the impact of the Fed confirming it will probably hike US interest rates this year.

"This mini-rally could have some legs and continue another day or two, but once it fades emerging markets face some top-down macro risk events which will drive bearish positioning such as fears over China and the Fed," a strategist at Societe Generale, however, warned.

But in another note, Barclays listed Hungarians among emerging market assets that it recommended for hedging against Greek and other spillovers.

At an auction in Budapest of twelve-month discount Treasury bills on Thursday yields fell under 1% for the first time, but small demand also pointed to possible adjustments in the offing.

And with the Fed tightening this year looking even more certain than previously as the Greek obstacle seems to get out of the way, analysts still project the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) to go on easing, albeit "slightly", which could also reinforce investors dissatisfaction with low yields.

Hungaryʼs central bank could cut its base rate further by 10 bps this coming Tuesday in what may be the last move in this easing cycle, a majority of analysts said in a Reuters poll on Thursday.

But Nomuraʼs strategist said the bank could maintain the earlier, 15 bps, pace of rate cuts as it does not seem to mind a weaker forint. Crisis-hit Greeceʼs agreement with creditors also widens the room of manoeuvre for the Hungarian central bank. "They do want to get the base rate as low as possible, and the deal in Greece and the current level of the euro/forint allow them to keep going," Nomuraʼs expert said.

According to the median forecasts, Hungaryʼs base rate could drop to 1.33% by the end of this year, and rise to 1.88% by the end of next year.

The forint traded at 283.99 to the dollar, down from 282.79 late Wednesday. On Thursday, it moved between 282.13 and 284.71, a six-day low, after a more than two-week high at 276.70 last Friday intraday.

It was quoted at 296.99 to the Swiss franc, up from 297.10 late Wednesday. Its range on Thursday was 295.87, a four-day high, to 297.46. Since its crash to an all-time low at 378.49 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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