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CEE MARKETS 1-MOL lifts Hungarian shares on North Sea acquisition
December 13, 2013 / 11:37 AM / in 4 years

CEE MARKETS 1-MOL lifts Hungarian shares on North Sea acquisition

By Sandor Peto
    BUDAPEST, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Oil and gas group MOL 
led Hungarian stocks higher on Friday after the company firm
bought oil and gas projects in the North Sea from BASF. Other
Central European equity markets were mixed.
    The $375 million North Sea acquisition gives MOL resources
in a safe area, something it needs. INA, the Croatian
oil and gas company in which MOL owns a stake of almost 50
percent, has had to shut down operations in Syria.
    MOL is also locked in a dispute over control of INA with the
Croatian government, which owns a stake in the company as well.
MOL has said selling its INA stake was an option if no agreement
is reached.
    The North Sea deal also reflects Central Europe's drive to
cut dependence on Russian oil and gas after the collapse of the
European Union-backed Nabucco gas project. 
    MOL shares rose 3 percent on the acquisition news, helping
the Budapest bourse's main index to rise 1.3 percent.
    Elsewhere in the region, Warsaw's main equity index 
rose 0.2 percent. Prague shed half a percent.
    "The news could bring a reversal in MOL's dead market, even
though this step will not increase the value of MOL shares
much," Erste Bank said in a note. "Otherwise, we can expect
further acquisitions by MOL in the region."
    It said the shares of Hungary's biggest lender, OTP Bank
, also got support from a pledge by Ukraine that it
would "soon sign" a trade and association agreement with the
European Union.
    OTP has a subsidiary in Ukraine, which is being shaken by
huge anti-government protests. The protesters oppose Ukraine's
joining an alliance with Russia, its main fuel supplier instead
of tightening ties with Western Europe. 
    OTP shares rose 0.7 percent.
    
    ROMANIA
    Currencies in the region moved in tight ranges to the euro. 
    The Czech crown firmed a shade after October data
showed 7.76 billion crown ($388.21 million) surplus in the
current account, because of a surplus of trade in goods and
services and current transfers. Analysts had expected a 2.3
billion crown deficit.
    Hungary's forint regained some ground after flirting with
8-month lows in recent days, on expectations of a central bank
rate cut and a court decision next week which may affect the
bottom lines of heavily taxed banks. 
    Romania's leu moved sideways. ING Bank said in a
note that Romanian assets may rise as political tension eases
somewhat. 
    "International criticism following recent changes of the
penal code approved in parliament look to have found an echo, as
some key figures of the ruling alliance said yesterday the
changes need further reviews before passing into law," ING said.
"We read this as market-positive, as investors can take comfort
from the fact that EU/U.S. criticism does not fall on deaf
ears."
    One of Romania's ruling parties vowed to block proposals
that would increase the immunity of members of parliament from
corruption charges, as the European Union presses Bucharest to
rein in graft and organised crime. 
    The EU's emerging economies are slowly recovering from
recession, or in the case of Poland a slowdown, but the process
is prolonged and shaky.
                      CEE MARKETS SNAPSHOT AT 1127 CET
 ************************** CURRENCIES ************************
                             Latest  Previous   Daily   Change
                             bid     close      change  in 2013
 Czech crown                 27.471    27.489  +0.07%  -8.82%
 Hungarian forint           302.710   303.220  +0.17%  -3.88%
 Polish zloty                 4.182     4.179    -0.07%  -2.57%
 Romanian leu                 4.451     4.451  +0.01%   -0.17%
 Croatian kuna                7.637     7.638   +0.01%  -1.13%
 Serbian dinar              114.530   114.730   +0.17%   -1.95%
 Note: daily change calculated from previous close at 1700 GMT
 **************************** STOCKS **************************
                             Latest  Previous   Daily   Change
                                     close      change  in 2013
 Prague                      961.54    966.43   -0.51%  -7.43%
 Budapest                  18489.31  18281.35   +1.14%  +1.74%
 Warsaw                     2444.47   2440.61   +0.16%  -5.36%
 Bucharest                  6265.46   6272.47   -0.11%  +21.67%
 ***************************** BONDS **************************
                         Yield    Yield    Spread    Daily
                         (bid)    change   vs Bund   change in
 Czech Republic                                      spread
   2-year                0.542   +0.388   +29bps    +39bps
   5-year                0.825     -0.002    0bps      0bps
  10-year                2.285   +0.018   +45bps    +2bps
 ******************* FORWARD RATE AGREEMENTS ******************
                              3x6     6x9    9x12  3M interbank
 Czech Rep                    0.360   0.360  0.380   0.38
 Hungary                      2.960   3.040  3.160   3.17
 Poland                       2.680   2.710  2.830   2.65
 Note: FRA quotes are for ask prices
 **************************************************************
 
 (Reporting by Reuters bureaus; Writing by Sandor Peto; Editing
by Larry King)

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