United States

Robert Muller

U.S. wants Western tech to be used instead of Huawei kit

Jan 31 2019

BRUSSELS/PRAGUE The United States wants to steer people away from Huawei towards Western products because of its concerns over the security of the Chinese company's technology, the U.S. envoy to the European Union said on Thursday.

China's Huawei excluded from Czech tax tender after security warning

Jan 30 2019

PRAGUE China's Huawei has been excluded from a Czech tender to build a tax portal after the country's cyber watchdog warned of possible security threats posed by the telecoms supplier, documents showed on Wednesday.

CEE MARKETS-Crown hits 3-month high, shrugging off low CEE price indices

Jan 04 2019

* Czech cbank minutes confirm weak crown could lead to rate hike * Crown extends rally, setting 3-month high * Government bond yields track partial rebound in core markets By Sandor Peto and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, Jan 4 The crown hit a 3-month high as investors priced in further Czech monetary tightening even though a batch of Central European inflation data showed a further easing on Friday. Minutes of the Czech central bank's (CNB) December meeting, where it kept interest rates on hold after four consecutive hikes, were less hawkish than some had expected. But market participants said the text confirmed a link between crown weakness and further CNB interest rate tightening if needed to fight inflation. The crown touched its strongest levels since late September at 25.58 versus the euro, before retreating to 25.623 by 1000 GMT, still up 0.2 percent on the day. That is still significantly weaker than the CNB's average forecast of 25.1 for the first quarter, therefore "there would be space for raising rates," one Prague-based FX dealer said. Czech inflation, which ran at an annual rate of 2 percent in November, will "accelerate markedly" early this year, said Komercni Banka analyst Viktor Zeisel in a note. "We stick to our expectation that rates will go higher at the (CNB board's) February meeting," he added. Price index figures released elsewhere in the region on Friday showed that inflation pressure continued to ease late last year. Poland's annual inflation dipped further below the central bank's 1.5-3.5 percent target in December, to 1.1 percent as expected. Hungary and Romania's producer price indices fell in November. Government bond yields have plunged across the region in the past weeks, flattening curves, due to the decline in inflation, while increased worries over global economic growth, particularly in the United States and China, pushed interest rate forecasts lower. In the United States, the futures market has started to price in a cut as the Federal Reserve's next interest rate move rather than further hikes. Government bond yields in developed markets, however, rose on Friday, correcting an earlier sharp decline and triggering a similar movement in Central European long-term bond yields. Poland's 10-year bonds traded at a yield of 2.126 basis points, rising one basis point but outperforming German Bunds, where yields were 3 basis points higher. "The bond markets (in Central Europe) have started to behave as safe havens," one Budapest-based fixed income trader said, adding that if global economic growth worries persisted, Central European bond yields could continue to fall. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1100 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6230 25.6720 +0.19% +0.33% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 321.2000 321.2000 +0.00% -0.04% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.3022 4.2912 -0.26% -0.29% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.6640 4.6620 -0.04% -0.21% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4340 7.4335 -0.01% -0.32% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.3000 118.3700 +0.06% +0.00% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 998.57 990.0500 +0.86% +1.22% Budapest 39863.08 39672.60 +0.48% +1.85% Warsaw 2274.88 2247.22 +1.23% -0.08% Bucharest 7538.08 7471.10 +0.90% +2.09% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 800.79 805.06 -0.53% -0.43% > Zagreb 1727.66 1729.91 -0.13% -1.21% Belgrade <.BELEX1 732.23 731.79 +0.06% -3.87% 5> Sofia 584.21 585.33 -0.19% -1.72% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.8700 0.2460 +248bps +24bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.7520 0.0940 +208bps +7bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.7620 0.0350 +158bps +1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.4360 -0.0030 +204bps -1bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2440 0.0220 +258bps +0bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.7510 0.0360 +257bps +1bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.10 2.19 2.21 2.01 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.28 0.49 0.75 0.13 Poland 1.74 1.74 1.75 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

RPT-Debt-trapped Czechs excluded as economy grows

Dec 14 2018

* Tens of thousands avoid legal work due to punitive payments

Debt-trapped Czechs excluded as economy grows

Dec 13 2018

USTI NAD LABEM, Czech Republic Olga Petikova first borrowed a few hundred dollars in the 1990s to furnish her young family's apartment. Later, she turned to payday loans to make ends meet as her husband struggled to make his new business a success. The debt soared.

Billionaire Czech PM faces more legal trouble over use of EU funds

Dec 01 2018

BRUSSELS/PRAGUE Billionaire Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis faced renewed pressure over his business dealings on Saturday after an EU legal document said he has a conflict of interest due to links to agribusiness companies that received European funds.

CEE MARKETS-Forint, crown ease on rising dollar, Ukraine tension

Nov 27 2018

* Forint hits 4-week low due to dollar rise, in slow trade * Ukraine-Russia conflict, sentiment data weigh on crown * Poland detains former regulator head, but banks stocks rise By Sandor Peto and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, Nov 27 The forint eased to a four-week low against the euro on Tuesday as a firming dollar and tension in the neighbouring region between Kiev and Moscow cut appetite for Central European currencies. The forint and the Czech crown eased 0.2 percent versus the euro by 0954 GMT, to 324.15 and 25.95 respectively. "This is sentiment-driven, as the dollar has firmed... while I would call this healthy range-trading, with the forint drifting towards the (past few months') bottom around 325," one Budapest-based currency dealer said. The dealer said lower market turnover made the forint and the crown more vulnerable to international trends than the zloty , which firmed 0.1 percent to 4.2917 against the euro. The week-end's naval conflict between Russia and Ukraine and Monday's weak Czech consumer sentiment data for November weighed on sentiment in the crown's market, Komercni Banka analysts said in a note. The Czech central bank, which increased interest rates at each of its last four rate meetings, is not expected to hike them further at its meeting on December 20. "We don't expect the crown to strengthen in the remainder of the year, that should come only in 2019," Komercni said. Investors continue to watch how Rome's tension with the European Union over Italy's 2019 budget deficit target affects the euro, the currency dealer said. "The forint's recent strength, as it approached its 200-day moving average, has been more surprising than its current retreat," said Orsolya Nyeste, analyst of Erste Group in Budapest. Continuing robust consumption has led to some decline in Hungary's trade surpluses in the past months, she said. On a positive note, a retreat in crude prices has soothed fears that inflation might reach the top of the central bank's 2-4 percent target range without the bank changing its loose policy stance, Nyeste added. A pick-up in the inflow of European Union funds has kept local markets awash in money, fuelling an appetite for Hungarian government bonds, market participants said. Hungarian bonds took a breather after a rally in prices in the past seven weeks which has brought down yields by around 60 basis points to multi-month lows. Regional stocks were rangebound, mostly slightly firmer from Monday, including the index of Warsaw-listed banks, which rose half a percent. Poland's anti-corruption agency detained the former head of financial regulator KNF, Marek Chrzanowski, over a corruption scandal which earlier this month knocked down Polish bank stocks. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1054 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2018 Czech <EURCZK= 25.9500 25.9070 -0.17% -1.57% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 324.1500 323.4800 -0.21% -4.08% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2917 4.2962 +0.10% -2.69% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.6605 4.6600 -0.01% +0.41% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4280 7.4275 -0.01% +0.03% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.3200 118.3600 +0.03% +0.15% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2018 Prague 1065.52 1065.160 +0.03% -1.17% 0 Budapest 39531.42 39598.29 -0.17% +0.39% Warsaw 2223.47 2213.57 +0.45% -9.66% Bucharest 8526.83 8515.53 +0.13% +9.97% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 819.64 818.39 +0.15% +1.64% > Zagreb 1729.22 1736.35 -0.41% -6.17% Belgrade <.BELEX1 748.96 749.38 -0.06% -1.43% 5> Sofia 584.99 584.90 +0.02% -13.65% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.7400 0.0970 +238bps +10bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.8400 -0.0040 +207bps +1bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 2.0930 0.0080 +174bps +2bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5880 -0.0050 +223bps +0bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.4460 0.0050 +268bps +2bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 3.1880 0.0080 +284bps +2bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.18 2.28 2.35 2.02 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.30 0.50 0.80 0.00 Poland 1.77 1.80 1.85 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto, Editing by William Maclean)

CEE MARKETS-Currencies and shares firm on Brexit deal

Nov 26 2018

* Euro rise on Brexit deal helps CEE currencies, stocks * Positioning takes the upper hand in forint, crown trade * Moody's keeps Hungary's rating, outlook unchanged By Sandor Peto and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, Nov 26 Central European currencies and stocks mostly firmed slightly on Monday as Britain's deal with European Union (EU) leaders on the terms of its exit from the bloc lifted the pound and the euro. The currencies in the region, which has tight links with the euro zone, are often strengthened by capital flows into the euro and weakened by dollar buying. Sunday's deal still leaves risks to an ordered exit because the British parliament could still vote it down, ensuring Monday's uplift was limited, market participants said. Position closings ahead of the year-end after a hectic year are increasingly driving currency movements, they said. The zloty and leu were a shade firmer against the euro. The biggest changes were in the forint and the Czech crown, which moved in opposite directions, mostly because of position-closing, dealers said. The forint eased 0.1 percent to 322.5 against the euro while the Czech crown extended Friday's gains, continuing to drift away from four-month lows hit last week. It reached its strongest level since Nov. 8 and was up 0.2 percent at 25.883 by 1001 GMT. The Czech currency, in which foreign investors hold huge positions, fell for much of this month despite four straight interest rate hikes by the Czech central bank. But some investors believed its fall past 26 versus the euro was overdone, one Prague-based dealer said. "Those who pushed it up (above 26) have lost their appetite now, so it (EURCZK) will strengthen a bit," the dealer said. Moody's did not upgrade Hungary's Baa3 credit rating, nor its stable outlook on Friday despite some expectations that it could do so. "That does not count much as investors have been valuing Hungarian assets better than the rating anyway," said ING analyst Peter Virovacz in Budapest. Most of the market had not expected an upgrade, dealers said. The slight disappointment left Hungarian government bond yields near the multi-month lows hit on Friday, with the 10-year paper trading at 3.32 percent, while Czech and Polish yields ticked up slightly, tracking Bunds. The forint buying of recent weeks after a rise in inflation has probably fizzled out on fading expectations of a shift towards less loose policy from the central bank in the coming months, ING's Virovacz said. "Any change is unlikely before the term of (central bank governor Gyorgy) Matolcsy ends in March," he said. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1101 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2018 Czech <EURCZK= 25.8830 25.9250 +0.16% -1.32% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 322.5000 322.2000 -0.09% -3.59% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2893 4.2901 +0.02% -2.63% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.6590 4.6599 +0.02% +0.44% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4280 7.4325 +0.06% +0.03% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.2700 118.4200 +0.13% +0.19% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2018 Prague 1064.14 1062.420 +0.16% -1.30% 0 Budapest 39446.87 39379.78 +0.17% +0.18% Warsaw 2235.10 2225.39 +0.44% -9.19% Bucharest 8495.96 8522.78 -0.31% +9.57% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 818.34 822.42 -0.50% +1.48% > Zagreb 1735.98 1729.34 +0.38% -5.80% Belgrade <.BELEX1 742.82 743.29 -0.06% -2.23% 5> Sofia 588.23 588.93 -0.12% -13.17% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.7480 0.1800 +238bps +18bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.8660 0.0190 +209bps +1bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 2.1040 0.0120 +174bps -1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5980 0.0190 +223bps +2bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.4580 0.0330 +268bps +2bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 3.1950 0.0400 +284bps +2bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.22 2.33 2.42 2.02 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.30 0.52 0.83 0.13 Poland 1.76 1.79 1.84 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto Editing by David Goodman)

Czechs protest after government survives no-confidence vote

Nov 23 2018

PRAGUE Thousands of Czechs protested in Prague on Friday after the government survived a vote of no-confidence called to try to dismiss Prime Minister Andrej Babis over a fraud investigation.

Benzema scores twice as Real Madrid hammer Viktoria Plzen 5-0

Nov 07 2018

PLZEN, Czech Republic Real Madrid took a huge step towards clinching a spot in the Champions League knockout stage on Wednesday with a 5-0 rout of Viktoria Plzen as Karim Benzema scored two of four first-half goals for the Spanish giants.

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