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Foreign bond issue might come earlier

Hungary is expected to make a foreign currency bond issue - its first since June of 2008 - earlier than the autumn, as originally planned, Finance Minister Péter Oszkó said in a television interview early Tuesday.

Asked whether the government would start new negotiations with the IMF on extending the country's €20 billion financial support package, Oszkó said increased investor confidence and greater openness to the Hungarian market would allow the country to return to market financing. A foreign bond issue originally planned for the autumn is expected to take place sooner, he said.

The IMF has raised the possibility of extending Hungary's loan several times; that is, if Hungary wanted to extend it, it would be possible under the appropriate negotiated conditions, Oszkó said. But the next step is rather to show that Hungary is managing the crisis well and is moving in the right direction, he added.

Hungary should not send the message to markets that it wants to continue to “hang from the umbilical cord of the IMF“, rather it has to prove that there is enough confidence in the country that it can finance itself from the market, Oszkó said.

Speaking about a HUF 5 billion crisis fund for some of the country's 30,000 most disadvantaged families, Oszkó said the government had set aside HUF 1 billion from the budget for the fund, HUF 3 billion would come from electricity distributors and about HUF 800 million from fines levied on banks. (MTI-ECONEWS)