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CEE MARKETS-FX firms on bets on Hungarian, Czech rate hikes

·3-min read

By Alan Charlish June 16 (Reuters) - Central European currencies were mostly firmer on Wednesday, as investors anticipated rate hikes in the region and awaited a meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve that is likely to give some indication of when policy normalisation could start. Faced with rising inflation, some Fed policymakers have started to question whether it should keep in place the loose monetary policy introduced to help the economy weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, any policy change in the U.S. is expected to be months down the road, as the Fed weighs risks to the recovery. In contrast, policymakers in Hungary and the Czech Republic have signalled that normalisation is imminent. "If the Fed remains dovish, the breath of relief in the main markets should bring an increase in risk appetite that will stop the depreciation of the (CEE) region's currencies," Konrad Bialas, chief economist at DM TMS Brokers said in a note. At 0902 GMT the Hungarian forint was 0.30% firmer against the euro at 351.15. Hungary's central bank has signalled it will raise rates at its meeting on June 22, making it the first in the European Union to start normalising policy since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Czech central bank holds a rate setting meeting on June 23, with several Monetary Policy Council (MPC) members signalling a hike is likely. Market rates have risen up to 6 basis points since Tuesday morning in expectation of such a move. "...We see CNB's June meeting as a highly probable starting point of monetary policy normalisation," Komercni Banka trader Dalimil Vyskovsky said in a note. The Czech crown was 0.04% firmer at 25.4550, while the Polish zloty was 0.12% stronger at 4.5275. The zloty has slipped over 1% since the Polish central bank kept rates on hold last Wednesday, with a statement after the decision and a Friday press conference by governor Adam Glapinski showing no signs of a shift towards a more hawkish bias despite a spike in inflation. Glapinski on Friday also brushed aside speculation that the central bank could begin winding down its bond-buying programme. On Wednesday, the central bank offered to buy government and government-secured bonds worth 10 billion zlotys ($2.68 billion), up from the 5 billion zlotys which it offered to buy at its last auction. The Polish 10-year bond yield was little changed at 1.743%. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1102 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previou Daily Change s bid close change in 2021 EURCZK Czech EURHUF Hungary 0 0 EURPLN Polish EURRON Romanian EURHRK Croatian EURRSD Serbian 0 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change STOCKS Latest Previou Daily Change s close change in 2021 .PX Prague 1175.07 1175.34 -0.02% +14.40 00 % .BUX Budapest 48850.7 49299.4 -0.91% +16.01 3 8 % .WIG20 Warsaw <.WIG20 2237.16 2230.37 +0.30% +12.76 > % .BETI Buchares 11640.2 11614.8 +0.22% +18.71 t 5 8 % .SBITO Ljubljan <.SBITO 1148.91 1145.73 +0.28% +27.54 P a P> % .CRBEX Zagreb <.CRBEX 1981.28 1973.60 +0.39% +13.91 > % .BELEX Belgrade <.BELEX 782.32 782.32 +0.00% +4.50% 15 15> .SOFIX Sofia <.SOFIX 549.04 547.41 +0.30% +22.68 > % BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic CZ2YT= 2-year s CZ5YT= 5-year s CZ10YT s Poland PL2YT= 2-year s PL5YT= 5-year s PL10YT s FRA 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech Hungary Poland Note: FRA quotes are for ask prices ******************************************** ****************** ($1 = 3.7336 zlotys) (Reporting by Alan Charlish in Warsaw and Jason Hovet in Prague; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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