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Banking sector end-of-month external assets climb on FX issue

External assets of the Hungarian banking sector reached HUF 10,850.9 billion at the end of February, up HUF 578.8 billion from the end of January. The assets were lifted by the net effect of a maturing €1 billion government bond and a $3.25 billion issue, preliminary data published by the National Bank of Hungary on Tuesday show. Transactions accounted for HUF 373.7 billion of the rise in the end-of-month stock. The average monthly stock of external assets of the Hungarian banking sector fell by HUF 157.7 billion to HUF 10,186.0 billion in February. The MNB noted that the FX issues and maturities did not have a significant impact on the average monthly stock of external assets. The €1 billion in bonds matured on February 6. The $3.25 billion issue took place on February 19. On the liabilities side of the statistical balance sheet, average monthly stock of central government deposits fell by HUF 206.4 billion to HUF 1,409.8 billion as another forint-denominated government bond matured during the month, the central bank said. End-of-month government deposit stock was down HUF 22.2 billion at HUF 1,777.9 billion. The liquidity of the banking sector increased in February, as seen by a HUF 150.5 billion increase in the average monthly stock of two-week MNB bills - the central bank's main tool for soaking up liquidity - to HUF 4,411.2 billion. Lenders' overnight deposits were also up by HUF 5.5 billion at HUF 76.1 billion on average.