Edition:
United States

Luiza Ilie

Bucharest's hot water pipes are cracking under pressure

Oct 15 2020

BUCHAREST, Oct 15 On a rainy Tuesday in October, Miruna Nicolaescu was heating water on her kitchen stove for a shower, one of thousands of Bucharest residents left without hot running water because the city's decrepit pipes keep bursting.

CEE MARKETS-Forint extends losses, leu stable amid fresh political turmoil

Aug 18 2020

By Anita Komuves and Luiza Ilie BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST, Aug 18 The Hungarian forint extended its slide on Tuesday, while its regional peers held stable, as GDP data last week showed the Hungarian economy was hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than other CEE countries. The forint was down 0.37%, trading at 350.05 versus the euro at 0844 GMT, as the currency broke out of the narrow range of 344-348 where it had been moving in the past few weeks. "The second-quarter drop in GDP is really bad, worse than in Poland or Slovakia, which could be the reason why some investors re-evaluated their positions," an FX trader in Budapest said. "According to the technical picture, I expect the forint to weaken further." Hungary's GDP dropped by an annual 13.6% in the second quarter, below analyst forecasts, data showed on Friday. Poland's GDP fell 8.2% year-on-year and Slovakia's economy shrunk by an annual 12.1%. The Romanian leu was stable after Romania's opposition Social Democrat Party filed a no-confidence vote against the centrist minority government of Prime Minister Ludovic Orban on Monday. The announcement is the latest sign of years of political instability that have kept the currency under pressure. The leu was trading 0.05% lower at 4.8355 to the euro on Tuesday. "The announcement of another no-confidence vote after summer holidays is another proof of political fragmentation which keeps us relatively cautious on Romanian government bonds," Raiffeisen said in a daily note. Elsewhere, the Polish zloty and the Czech crown were little moved. Stocks in the region weakened, tracking European indices that slid because of escalating U.S.-China tensions and a batch of lackluster earnings results. Budapest's equities led losses by dropping 0.74% and assets in Warsaw were down 0.52%. Prague's blue chip index was down 0.42%, while Bucharest's stocks eased 0.13%. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1044 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2020 EURCZK= Czech <EURCZK= 26.1550 26.1450 -0.04% -2.76% crown > EURHUF= Hungary <EURHUF= 350.050 348.7500 -0.37% -5.40% forint > 0 EURPLN= Polish <EURPLN= 4.3984 4.3988 +0.01 -3.23% zloty > % EURRON= Romanian <EURRON= 4.8355 4.8330 -0.05% -0.98% leu > EURHRK= Croatian <EURHRK= 7.5267 7.5283 +0.02 -1.08% kuna > % EURRSD= Serbian <EURRSD= 117.480 117.5800 +0.09 +0.08% dinar > 0 % Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2020 .PX Prague 907.20 911.0000 -0.42% -18.68% .BUX Budapest 36264.9 36533.57 -0.74% -21.30% 3 .WIG20 Warsaw 1852.49 1862.12 -0.52% -13.84% .BETI Buchares 8700.08 8711.13 -0.13% -12.80% t .SBITOP Ljubljan <.SBITOP 858.20 862.52 -0.50% -7.31% a > .CRBEX Zagreb 1603.58 1597.67 +0.37 -20.51% % .BELEX1 Belgrade <.BELEX1 666.81 668.99 -0.33% -16.82% 5 5> .SOFIX Sofia 433.04 433.61 -0.13% -23.78% Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs change Bund in Czech spread Republic CZ2YT=R 2-year <CZ2YT=R 0.0980 0.0080 +076b +1bps R R> ps CZ5YT=R 5-year <CZ5YT=R 0.6560 -0.0310 +132b -2bps R R> ps CZ10YT= <CZ10YT= 0.9770 -0.0180 +144b -1bps RR 10-year RR> ps Poland PL2YT=R 2-year <PL2YT=R 0.1790 -0.0020 +084b +0bps R R> ps PL5YT=R 5-year <PL5YT=R 0.7390 -0.0130 +140b +0bps R R> ps PL10YT= <PL10YT= 1.3300 -0.0040 +179b +1bps RR 10-year RR> ps FORWARD 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech 0.33 0.33 0.42 0.34 Rep <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.76 0.81 0.86 0.60 Poland 0.21 0.21 0.24 0.23 Note: are for ask FRA prices quotes ********************************************* ***************** (Additional reporting by Robert Muller in Prague; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)

Activist, diaspora groups in Romania call for investigation of police at 2018 anti-corruption rally

Aug 10 2020

BUCHAREST Romanian activist and diaspora groups called on state institutions on Monday to investigate riot police for using violence to quell an anti-corruption rally two years ago.

CEE MARKETS-Central European stocks track global shares down on U.S.-China tensions

Jul 24 2020

By Luiza Ilie BUCHAREST, July 24 Central European stocks tracked global markets lower on Friday as tensions between the United States and China escalated, denting asset gains in the region after a landmark European Union economic deal. Most currencies in the region also weakened. China ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu on Friday, in retaliation to a U.S. demand this week that it close its Houston consulate. By 0915 GMT, Prague's bluechip index was down 1.5% on the day, Warsaw's fell 1.0%, Budapest's 0.9% and Bucharest's 0.3%. Stocks and currencies in the region had been lifted earlier this week by a 750-billion-euro coronavirus recovery package that would see healthy portions sent to Poland, Hungary and Romania. On Friday, market volatility erased some of the gains. The forint was down 0.2% on the day at 347.4000, still well off a record low of 369.54 it hit in April at the peak of the pandemic. The National Bank of Hungary cut its base rate for the second consecutive month earlier this week to 0.6% as expected, with Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag saying the current level would maintain financial stability in a sustainable way. "The Hungarian central bank has no exchange rate target, but nonetheless it has to pay attention to the forint's moves," said David Nemeth, an analyst at KH Bank in Budapest in a note. "The biggest threat to the forint is a potential global selloff on markets. But for the time being sentiment is relatively stable on markets." Elsewhere in the region, the Polish zloty was down 0.2% and the Romanian leu was flat. The Czech crown was 0.1% weaker. Czech business confidence data released on Friday showed a one-month jump of 10.9 points to 84.7, the highest since March.. "Overall the confidence survey gives hope that results of retail sales and industrial output may bring encouraging results," Komercni Banka economist Jana Steckerova said in a note. "If there is no second wave of the pandemic, the Czech economy should have the worst behind it." CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1115 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previou Daily Change s bid close change in 2020 Czech <EURCZK 26.2970 26.2700 -0.10% -3.29% crown => Hungary <EURHUF 347.530 346.670 -0.25% -4.71% forint => 0 0 Polish <EURPLN 4.4108 4.4007 -0.23% -3.50% zloty => Romanian <EURRON 4.8340 4.8330 -0.02% -0.95% leu => Croatian <EURHRK 7.5150 7.5213 +0.08% -0.93% kuna => Serbian <EURRSD 117.590 117.650 +0.05% -0.02% dinar => 0 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previou Daily Change s close change in 2020 Prague 920.25 934.070 -1.48% -17.51% 0 Budapest 35240.0 35571.7 -0.93% -23.53% 1 2 Warsaw <.WIG20 1802.07 1820.25 -1.00% -16.19% > Buchares 8544.76 8572.01 -0.32% -14.36% t Ljubljan <.SBITO 850.99 853.03 -0.24% -8.09% a P> Zagreb <.CRBEX 1597.02 1610.04 -0.81% -20.84% > Belgrade <.BELEX 649.22 649.16 +0.01% -19.02% 15> Sofia <.SOFIX 440.06 440.63 -0.13% -22.54% > Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT= 0.1080 0.0730 +077bp +6bps RR> s 5-year <CZ5YT= 0.4180 -0.0420 +107bp -6bps RR> s <CZ10YT 0.8420 0.0090 +130bp -1bps 10-year =RR> s Poland 2-year <PL2YT= 0.1250 -0.0010 +079bp -1bps RR> s 5-year <PL5YT= 0.7500 -0.0280 +141bp -5bps RR> s <PL10YT 1.3540 0.0040 +181bp -2bps 10-year =RR> s FORWARD 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech <CZKFRA 0.30 0.31 0.34 0.34 Rep ><PRIBO R=> Hungary <HUFFRA 0.60 0.60 0.59 0.60 ><BUBOR => Poland <PLNFRA 0.19 0.20 0.22 0.25 ><WIBOR => Note: are for ask FRA prices quotes ******************************************** ****************** (Reporting by Luiza Ilie in Bucharest, Krisztina Than in Budapest and Jan Lopatka in Prague; Editing by Emelia Matarise)

Romanian court sentences former finance minister to jail for graft

Jul 21 2020

BUCHAREST A Romanian court sentenced former finance minister Darius Valcov to six-and-a-half years' jail on Tuesday for taking a bribe and peddling influence in awarding public works contracts in one of the European Union's most corrupt countries.

Romanian cobbler keeps people apart with size 75 shoes

Jun 01 2020

CLUJ, Romania/BUCHAREST Soon after a two-month lockdown to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus eased in Romania in mid-May, Grigore Lup, a Romanian shoemaker from the Transylvanian city of Cluj, noticed people were not respecting the rules of social distancing. | Video

EU fraud prosecutor was wrongly dismissed from Romanian anti-graft job: court

May 05 2020

BUCHAREST The European Union's fraud prosecutor was wrongly removed from her previous job as head of Romania's anti-corruption agency, the European Court of Human Rights said on Tuesday in a landmark ruling against political interference in the judiciary.

Romanian Church condemns posters depicting doctors and nurses as saints

Apr 29 2020

BUCHAREST Romania's Orthodox Church said on Wednesday a series of outdoor posters depicting nurses and doctors on the frontlines of the new coronavirus outbreak as saints were blasphemous and an insult to Christian iconography.

'It's a financial choice' - Romanian farm workers head west despite coronavirus

Apr 17 2020

BUCHAREST Carmen Mocanu, a 51-year-old labourer, has spent most springs for 15 years picking fruit and vegetables on a German farm.

Mother of invention: the new gadgets dreamt up to fight coronavirus

Apr 01 2020

LONDON/OAKLAND/BUCHAREST Driving to work at his factory to the west of London last week, designer Steve Brooks had coronavirus on his mind. What could he make that would let him open a door without touching the handle?

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