(Corrects zloty, leu quotations in paragraph 8th) By Radu-Sorin Marinas BUCHAREST, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Central European currencies were mixed early on Wednesday, with the Czech crown slightly firmer ahead of a central bank meeting in which the base rate is expected to be kept flat as the market eyes a temporary halt of monetary easing. A Reuters poll on Tuesday showed the Czech National Bank (CNB) was likely to keep its two-week repo rate at 0.25% after having cut it by 200 basis points so far this year, without reverting to easing again. Tighter policy, however, is not expected before the end of 2021. Analysts say interest rates have probably bottomed amid a resurgence in COVID-19 infections, raising fears the economy could again face restrictions. The Czech Republic recorded 2,394 new infections in its second-highest daily rise since the pandemic began, Health Ministry data showed on Wednesday. By 0820 GMT, the crown gained 0.2% to trade at trading at 26.970. "We do not expect an immediate reaction on the part of the CNB today, but we assume that the central bank will keep a close eye on the government's future measures and, if necessary, will take action ... as it had already done in the spring," said Commerzbank analysts. The crown eased by 3% since the start of the month, "thus coming in right at the bottom of the list of the Eastern European currencies. We expect the crown to remain under pressure for now," they added. The Polish zloty and the Romanian leu were little changed at 4.4883 and 4.8640 respectively. The Hungarian forint eased marginally 0.02% and was trading at 363.75, extending losses from the start of the week when it plunged to a five-month low in global risk-off mood. The currency temporarily firmed before falling back to Tuesday's levels after the central bank left rates unchanged and deputy governor Barnabas Virag said the bank is ready to use its tools if justified by the inflation outlook. "If the exchange rate of the forint weakens further, then, based on the comments of the central bank we expect a temporary rate hike at the one-week deposit tender, trying to stabilize the market," said David Nemeth, senior analyst at K&H Bank. CEE SNAPSHOT AT 1058 MARKETS CET CURRENCIE S Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2020 Czech 26.9850 27.0230 +0.14% -5.76% crown Hungary 363.8000 363.6900 -0.03% -8.98% forint Polish 4.4877 4.4907 +0.07% -5.15% zloty Romanian 4.8640 4.8615 -0.05% -1.56% leu Croatian 7.5470 7.5465 -0.01% -1.35% kuna Serbian 117.5000 117.6000 +0.09% +0.06% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2020 Prague 869.12 868.0500 +0.12% -22.10% Budapest 32674.29 32296.74 +1.17% -29.10% Warsaw 1698.06 1693.09 +0.29% -21.02% Buchares 9016.05 9019.56 -0.04% -9.63% t Ljubljan 834.84 833.14 +0.20% -9.83% a Zagreb 1631.09 1619.00 +0.75% -19.15% Belgrade 686.26 692.62 -0.92% -14.40% Sofia 425.24 423.59 +0.39% -25.15% Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year 0.0950 -0.0300 +081bps -2bps 5-year 0.5380 -0.0260 +126bps -2bps <CZ10YT=RR 0.8730 -0.0140 +139bps +1bps 10-year > Poland 2-year 0.0800 -0.0050 +079bps +0bps 5-year 0.6360 -0.0300 +136bps -2bps <PL10YT=RR 1.3210 -0.0150 +184bps +1bps 10-year > FORWARD 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech <P 0.32 0.33 0.35 0.34 Rep RIBOR=> Hungary <B 0.81 0.90 0.97 0.63 UBOR=> Poland <W 0.20 0.18 0.18 0.22 IBOR=> Note: are for ask prices FRA quotes **************************************************** ********** (Additional reporting by Anita Komuves in Budapest and Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)
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