Edition:
United States

Marton Dunai

Germany, Hungary to mark end of the Iron Curtain

7:12am EDT

SOPRON, Hungary Thirty years ago on Monday Hungarian border guards for the first time allowed people from communist East Germany to cross freely into Austria and hundreds of them rejoiced. The Iron Curtain was passing into history.

CEE MARKETS-Assets mixed on trade war fears, Hungary slowdown

Aug 07 2019

By Marton Dunai BUDAPEST, Aug 7 Emerging European stocks gained on Wednesday benefiting from a Western European rebound but currencies traded flat, as lingering worries about the Sino-U.S. trade war and signs of a slowdown in Hungary weighed on markets. Shares in Asia fell for an eighth straight session on Wednesday, but losses and nerves were soothed somewhat by White House assurances that it wants to press ahead with negotiations. European shares rose on Wednesday after three sessions of losses as deal-making activity in the chemical sector helped offset pale earnings from banks in the region. Hungarian, Czech and Polish assets mostly treaded water in early trading, as investors waited for cues from any change in risk appetite in core markets. The zloty may follow a lacklustre session on Tuesday with some strengthening, Santander said in a note to clients. "As long as there is no information fuelling the risk aversion, in our view the zloty could gain and catch up with other currencies of our region" In Hungary, weaker than expected industry output data added to recent signs of an economic slowdown, something Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said may prompt several new stimulus programmes. June output showed contraction both on a monthly and an annual basis. "Today's data rounds out the second-quarter figures which shows the slowing of overall growth together with retail sales data," ING analyst Peter Virovacz wrote in a note. "All signs indicate the first quarter was the peak and the economy is slowing down now." Hungary's economic growth tied a 19-year high of 5.3% year-on-year in the first quarter. Aside from economic challenges, the region also faces political changes later this year, with general elections in Poland and a municipal vote in Hungary. The Polish president's office has confirmed the country will hold its parliamentary election on Oct. 13, which most pollsters expect the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party to win thanks to generous social spending and robust economic growth. Hungary will hold municipal elections on the same day, watched more closely than normal for signs of any change in the overwhelming dominance of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, unbroken for more than a decade. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 0955 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.7450 25.7410 -0.02% -0.15% crown Hungary 325.3800 325.0200 -0.11% -1.32% forint Polish 4.3175 4.3166 -0.02% -0.65% zloty Romanian 4.7310 4.7299 -0.02% -1.63% leu Croatian 7.3810 7.3825 +0.02% +0.39% kuna Serbian 117.5900 117.6500 +0.05% +0.60% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1026.22 1022.850 +0.33% +4.02% 0 Budapest 40323.44 40037.39 +0.71% +3.03% Warsaw 2170.60 2156.23 +0.67% -4.66% Bucharest 9103.70 9047.79 +0.62% +23.29% Ljubljana 858.12 868.21 -1.16% +6.70% Zagreb 1900.49 1897.97 +0.13% +8.67% Belgrade <.BELEX15 764.90 763.78 +0.15% +0.42% > Sofia 579.64 579.95 -0.05% -2.49% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.1590 0.1740 +199bps +18bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 0.9760 0.0470 +179bps +6bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.0360 -0.0090 +159bps +1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5600 -0.0010 +239bps +1bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.8400 -0.0120 +265bps +0bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.0890 0.0000 +265bps +2bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.09 1.92 1.76 2.15 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.31 0.33 0.36 0.26 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.73 1.72 1.70 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Coca-Cola ads promoting gay tolerance stir furor in Hungary

Aug 05 2019

BUDAPEST Advertisements by Coca-Cola around a music festival in Hungary that promote gay acceptance have prompted a boycott call from a senior member of the conservative ruling party.

CEE MARKETS-Assets lower as Fed makes waves, economic sentiment worsening

Aug 01 2019

By Jason Hovet and Marton Dunai PRAGUE/BUDAPEST, Aug 1 Emerging European assets dipped on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut rates for the first time in more than a decade and local economies showed signs of a worsening outlook, leaving investors with several new factors to weigh. Wall Street turned negative on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell characterised the U.S. central bank's first rate cut since 2008 as a "mid-cycle adjustment to policy," suggesting the move was not the start of a lengthy series of rate cuts. Emerging European assets tend to be sensitive to risk appetite, weakening when global factors spook investors. On Thursday morning the Czech crown traded around an 8-week low before a central bank meeting in Prague, where analysts predicted rates would stay unchanged at 2% as the bank balances global uncertainties with a still solid economy. There will be a new outlook, with the attention focused mostly on the bank's new assumptions for the euro/crown cross. "We expect the voting board to cite the global risks again as a reason to keep the 'wait and see' mode today. Still, it will be worth (to) watch where the new forecast sees the FX rate prediction," Komercni Banka rates trader Dalimil Vyskovsky said. Czech forward rate agreements point to market expectations of interest rate cuts in the next year although analysts expect the bank will signal rate stability ahead for now. "We expect the CNB has no reason to support exaggerated market expectations and will stay with its declaration of rate stability," CSOB said. Manufacturing business sentiment fell around the region, signalling a waning confidence despite the region's resilience to economic challenges in recent years. Czech sentiment fell to a 10-year low in July, sharply below analysts' forecast, the Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) showed on Thursday. Hungary's PMI also continued to fall last month, staying just below the threshold separating expansion from contraction, while a contraction in Polish factory activity accelerated. Poland's central bank is flexible when reacting to shocks and should be so, as it has to take into account the reasons for the shocks and their durability, The National Bank of Poland's governor said in an article for the Rzeczpospolita daily on Thursday. All three major stock indices fell in emerging central Europe, following a market dip in the U.S. and other core markets. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1009 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.7100 25.6850 -0.10% -0.01% crown Hungary 326.3000 325.7400 -0.17% -1.60% forint Polish 4.2934 4.2840 -0.22% -0.09% zloty Romanian 4.7335 4.7315 -0.04% -1.68% leu Croatian 7.3800 7.3823 +0.03% +0.41% kuna Serbian 117.5700 117.6900 +0.10% +0.62% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1053.56 1056.690 -0.30% +6.79% 0 Budapest 40645.90 40767.60 -0.30% +3.85% Warsaw 2272.47 2277.37 -0.22% -0.18% Bucharest 9194.65 9204.15 -0.10% +24.53% Ljubljana 869.54 870.59 -0.12% +8.12% Zagreb 1911.29 1911.58 -0.02% +9.29% Belgrade <.BELEX15 743.92 747.49 -0.48% -2.33% > Sofia 581.72 580.68 +0.18% -2.14% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.1580 0.0850 +193bps +7bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.1080 0.0340 +184bps +2bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.2240 0.0000 +165bps -1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5580 0.0000 +233bps -1bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.9200 0.0310 +265bps +2bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.2110 0.0320 +264bps +2bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.13 2.03 1.92 2.16 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.34 0.42 0.48 0.26 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.74 1.73 1.74 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

CEE MARKETS-Assets shrug off weaker PMI data across the region

Jul 01 2019

By Marton Dunai and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, July 1 Emerging European assets mostly shrugged off worsening business sentiment readings and moved sideways, in a market that focused on the ramifications of a global trade war for core markets and kept investors guessing about emerging-market assets. While large central banks around the world try to maintain growth in the face of hostile trade relations, eastern Europe's economic outlook for now has provided a steadier hand for policymakers - but they keep their eyes peeled on a spillover of growth woes. "We expect (large) central banks to continue to try and offset the risks of a trade-war induced recession," Citibank said in a note to clients. "The ECB in particular looks ready for 'whatever it takes' part 2." Growth and inflation have crept higher in several eastern European economies, and the easing bias in core markets has allowed its central banks to avoid rate hikes, analysts have said. Polish, Czech and Hungarian central banks will all keep rates flat all year, polls suggest. But in the longer term, the trade war's effects are expected to seep into the region, posing a monetary policy challenge. "The current global environment remains challenging and will also impact the Czech economy sooner or later," said Jakub Seidler, ING chief economist for Czech Republic. "We see the (central bank) on hold... (in) a wait-and-see approach." Business sentiment surveys, which showed marked contraction in Czech and Polish business sectors and a slowing expansion in Hungary, did not faze markets just yet as growth projections there remained rosy. Polish PMI was lower than expected, below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction for the eighth month in a row. Economists were surprised that the fall was due to domestic demand, not export. "Worryingly, the declines in output and new business gathered pace, although the hit on the headline PMI was tempered somewhat by the first increase in employment in five months," said Trevor Balchin, director at IHS Markit. Czech PMI fell to a near 10-year low in June due to a faster-than-expected decrease in production and a fall in new business, Markit said on Monday. "The rate of contraction quicken(ed) to the fastest since December 2012. The decline was linked to weaker foreign and domestic client demand," it said. "The contraction was marked overall as firms noted that weaker demand and unplanned shutdowns in the automotive sector had weighed on new order volumes. New business from abroad fell at the fastest rate for a decade." Hungary's seasonally adjusted PMI fell to 54.4 in June from 57.9 in May but remained above the 50-point mark separating growth in manufacturing from contraction. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1013 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.4180 25.4460 +0.11% +1.14% crown Hungary 322.7600 322.8500 +0.03% -0.52% forint Polish 4.2420 4.2472 +0.12% +1.12% zloty Romanian 4.7314 4.7285 -0.06% -1.64% leu Croatian 7.3980 7.3981 +0.00% +0.16% kuna Serbian 117.7500 117.9000 +0.13% +0.47% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1041.71 1041.730 -0.00% +5.59% 0 Budapest 40637.81 40279.31 +0.89% +3.83% Warsaw 2350.81 2327.67 +0.99% +3.26% Bucharest 8803.92 8814.27 -0.12% +19.23% Ljubljana 879.84 881.59 -0.20% +9.40% Zagreb 1882.57 1883.11 -0.03% +7.65% Belgrade <.BELEX15 730.12 731.62 -0.21% -4.14% > Sofia 587.40 587.81 -0.07% -1.19% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.4830 0.0240 +222bps +2bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.3490 0.0570 +201bps +6bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.5440 0.0000 +187bps +0bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.6220 -0.0010 +236bps +0bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.9650 -0.0100 +263bps -1bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.3940 0.0000 +272bps +0bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.18 2.12 2.02 2.17 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.34 0.45 0.56 0.25 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.74 1.73 1.72 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai)

Liberal wins Budapest primary to face Orban's Fidesz in mayoral election

Jun 26 2019

BUDAPEST The first formal primary in Hungary's history, for Budapest's mayoral election, wrapped up on Wednesday as the opposition joined forces to try to wrest political leadership in the capital from Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party.

CEE MARKETS-Forint slips ahead of rate decision

Jun 25 2019

By Marton Dunai BUDAPEST, June 25 Hungary's forint weakened slightly ahead of a central bank rate decision due later on Tuesday which is expected to leave rates flat despite inflation pressures. The Hungarian unit underperformed regional peers, which were broadly unchanged, although it remained in the wider range around 324 against the euro it has charted in recent days. Analysts said they expected Hungarian rates to stay unchanged after the European Central Bank struck a dovish tone, even with inflation in Hungary at the top of the central bank's tolerance range around 4 percent. "Emotions have calmed down ahead of the rate decision today, even considering the decision's probably limited impact," Erste Bank said in a note to clients. The forint would likely bounce back from resistance at 325 to the euro and correct toward stronger levels, it added. Takarekbank analysts said they also expected no change but on the off-chance of any monetary tightening, the forint could gain significantly. The region's largest economy, Poland, is on a robust course despite recent weaker retail sales data, mbank said in a research note. Poland on Monday reported annual retail sales growth slowed to 7.3% in May from 13.6% in April, somewhat below analyst forecasts. These numbers "don't change the general positive picture of the Polish economy," mbank said. "The fact that (major) central banks are easing monetary policy should in the longer term strengthen the zloty." "In the coming days though the zloty should remain stable; bigger moves can only be expected on Friday after data on inflation or information from the G20 summit." The region's stocks followed a weakening in emerging markets as uncertainty weighed ahead of a Trump-Xi meeting at the G20 Summit. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1037 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.5580 25.5750 +0.07% +0.58% crown Hungary 324.2000 323.4500 -0.23% -0.96% forint Polish 4.2560 4.2535 -0.06% +0.79% zloty Romanian 4.7210 4.7229 +0.04% -1.42% leu Croatian 7.3960 7.3973 +0.02% +0.19% kuna Serbian 117.7700 117.8300 +0.05% +0.45% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1046.86 1056.180 -0.88% +6.11% 0 Budapest 40360.72 40475.09 -0.28% +3.12% Warsaw 2320.79 2331.08 -0.44% +1.94% Bucharest 8634.35 8625.92 +0.10% +16.94% Ljubljana 890.23 890.23 +0.00% +10.69% Zagreb 1905.02 1905.02 +0.00% +8.93% Belgrade <.BELEX15 720.44 720.44 +0.00% -5.42% > Sofia 577.50 580.11 -0.45% -2.85% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.5820 0.0980 +231bps +9bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.3390 0.0190 +199bps +2bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.5260 0.0040 +184bps +1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5770 -0.0310 +230bps -4bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.9200 -0.0360 +257bps -4bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.3390 -0.0200 +265bps -1bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.18 2.08 1.99 2.17 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.31 0.43 0.53 0.24 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.74 1.73 1.71 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

Four jailed for life over death of 71 migrants in Hungarian truck

Jun 20 2019

SZEGED, Hungary A Hungarian court jailed four human traffickers for life on Thursday for the deaths of 71 migrants whose decomposing bodies were found crammed inside a truck dumped on an Austrian motorway.

Hungarian IT firm 4iG eyes acquisitions to expand: CEO

Jun 19 2019

BUDAPEST Hungarian information technology firm 4iG plans to grow through debt-fueled acquisitions in the central European region, its CEO and largest shareholder Gellert Jaszai told Reuters on Wednesday.

Captain in fatal Budapest boat crash was sober at the time: police

Jun 18 2019

BUDAPEST Hungarian police said on Tuesday they had found no evidence of alcohol or drug abuse by the captain of a cruise ship that struck and sank a small tourist vessel last month, killing 28 mostly Korean people on board.

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