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Alicja Ptak

State-run banks should look at mBank: Polish finance minister

18 Oct 2019

WARSAW Poland's Finance Minister Jerzy Kwiecinski said on Friday it would be good if state-run financial institutions could look into a possible takeover of mBank , the country's fourth largest lender by assets.

CEE MARKETS-Polish stocks gain as court ruling on FX loans removes uncertainty

04 Oct 2019

By Marton Dunai and Alicja Ptak BUDAPEST/WARSAW, Oct 4 Polish stocks led mild regional gains on Friday after a court ruling seen less unfavourable to the country's financial sector than expected pulled prices higher, with some bank stocks jumping as much as 5 percent. The European Union's top court on Thursday ruled in favour of Polish consumers who took out mortgages in Swiss Francs, allowing them to ask courts to convert loans into the local zloty currency in a blow for lenders. Changing the terms of the loans, which had become prohibitively expensive after the Swiss franc jumped in value, means Polish banks will have to refund some customers, but removal of uncertainty about the outcome was greeted with relief by investors. The WIG banks index was up 1.2 percent in early Friday trading. Millennium was up nearly 5 percent, while other affected bank stocks posted more moderate gains. The overall stock market added 1.1 percent, outpacing gains elsewhere in the region, which stayed below 1 percent. The ruling was also expected to have a mildly positive effect on the zloty, although as the initial relief wears off the lack of clarity in the medium-term may come back to haunt Polish markets once again. "We believe that, after the ruling, the (Polish) currency may gain a little bit in a short-term," Santander said in a note to clients. "However, the reality is that uncertainty... has not disappeared, which in the medium-term may exert a slightly negative pressure on the PLN." External factors such as Brexit will creep back to steer the exchange rate as well, the bank added. In Hungary, the Budapest Stock Exchange suspended trading in the shares of Opus Global, a group controlled by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's close ally Lorinc Meszaros, for the day, prompting market speculation about impending news. Opus shares have added about 60% in the last two years - while the overall market is up less than 6% - as the company has grown into a wide-ranging conglomerate, with its first-half revenues up fivefold since 2018. The stock has fallen far from its all-time high set in 2018, however, as it is yet to undergo restructuring and turn a profit. The forint, which has recovered from record lows set last week, was stable in morning trading but investors do not count on significant gains against the euro, CIB Bank said in a note. "Forex markets are guided by a combination of unchanged (dovish) monetary policy outlook and a hectic international environment," CIB said. After Poland's September inflation came in below expectations this week, Hungary and the Czech Republic also publish their own figures next week, providing some guidance for regional monetary moves. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1020 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.7130 25.7010 -0.05% -0.02% crown Hungary 332.3000 332.3700 +0.02% -3.37% forint Polish 4.3265 4.3298 +0.08% -0.85% zloty Romanian 4.7490 4.7488 -0.00% -2.00% leu Croatian 7.4200 7.4160 -0.05% -0.13% kuna Serbian 117.3100 117.4700 +0.14% +0.84% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1008.47 1005.480 +0.30% +2.22% 0 Budapest 39758.33 39547.59 +0.53% +1.58% Warsaw 2122.33 2099.30 +1.10% -6.78% Bucharest 9446.11 9429.07 +0.18% +27.93% Ljubljana 861.19 857.59 +0.42% +7.08% Zagreb 1925.13 1926.05 -0.05% +10.08% Belgrade <.BELEX15 743.52 744.19 -0.09% -2.39% > Sofia 564.52 565.90 -0.24% -5.04% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.2750 -0.0980 +203bps -10bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.0860 -0.0240 +191bps -2bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.3140 -0.0110 +191bps +0bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.4900 -0.0080 +225bps -1bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.6600 -0.0260 +248bps -2bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 1.8980 -0.0350 +249bps -3bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.21 2.13 1.99 2.16 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.26 0.31 0.34 0.21 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.73 1.70 1.67 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Poland's ruling PiS vows to boost public healthcare ahead of vote

28 Sep 2019

WARSAW, Sept 28 Poland's ruling nationalists promised on Saturday to raise funding of the health service, another hefty spending pledge in an election campaign where they have sought to position themselves as champions of the welfare state.

Pride parades in Poland prove flashpoint ahead of general election

26 Sep 2019

LUBLIN Alicja Sienkiewicz was attending a gay pride event in the Polish city of Bialystok in July when a group of young men shouting expletives surrounded her wheelchair and hurled firecrackers. | Video

Pride parades in Poland prove flashpoint ahead of general election

26 Sep 2019

LUBLIN, Sept 26 Alicja Sienkiewicz was attending a gay pride event in the Polish city of Bialystok in July when a group of young men shouting expletives surrounded her wheelchair and hurled firecrackers.

Special Report: How Poland became a front in the cold war between U.S. and China

02 Jul 2019

By Joanna Plucinska, Koh Gui Qing, Alicja Ptak and Steve Stecklow

CEE MARKETS-Polish bond yield sets 4-year low, currencies rise despite firm dollar

14 Jun 2019

* Bond yields track core markets lower on politics, growth worries * Poland's 10-year bond yield at lowest since early 2015 * Regional currencies set multi-month highs, stocks mostly ease * Currencies shrug off dollar rebound on U.S. retail sales data (Adds U.S. retail sales, new comments) By Sandor Peto and Alicja Ptak BUDAPEST/WARSAW, June 14 Poland's 10-year government bond yield sank to its lowest level in more than four years on Friday after an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf, which the United States blamed on Iran, led to global buying of less risky assets. Tehran denied the allegation following the attacks on Thursday, but concerns grew about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation. The Polish paper traded at 2.3895% at 0843 GMT, down 3 basis points from Thursday's close. "(There is a) big drop in yields worldwide, (and) the rising presence of foreign investors dragged (Polish) yields down," said Michal Zak, dealer at mBank. "Yesterday's (Polish government bond) auction apparently has not covered all positions, if only a day after we see a 10 basis point drop," he added, referring to the fall in yield from Thursday's peak. Other Central European bond yields also dropped, and currencies mainly firmed slightly, despite a rebound in U.S. yields and the dollar against major currencies, partly after better-then-expected U.S. retail sales data. In recent weeks, dollar sales have helped the region's main currencies to firm, and on Friday the zloty touched a 10-month high against the euro at 4.2525, and the Czech crown a 9-month high at 25.523. "The reverse correlation with the dollar does not work 100 percent. There is hardly any trade in local markets right now, this is a sleepy Friday," one Budapest-based dealer said. "After the retail figures... the first U.S. rate cut may come later, but the expectation is still for cuts." Despite a rise in U.S. Treasury bond yields, German yields remained lower, though the 10-year yield was off record lows touched earlier in the session. Although a surge in wages in the region is pushing consumer prices higher, Poland has the lowest annual inflation among Central Europe's main economies - revised up to 2.4 percent for May on Friday. Polish rate setter Jerzy Osiatynski said the central bank may need to start to increase its record low interest rates next year, but that in 2019 borrowing costs would not change. Hungary's 10-year yield was fixed lower by 5 basis points from Thursday's fixing at 2.74%. The forint firmed 0.1 percent to 321.8 versus the euro. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1517 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.5250 25.5600 +0.14% +0.71% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 321.8000 322.1400 +0.11% -0.22% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2559 4.2564 +0.01% +0.79% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7225 4.7215 -0.02% -1.45% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4120 7.4130 +0.01% -0.03% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.9200 118.0000 +0.07% +0.32% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1049.66 1050.880 -0.12% +6.40% 0 Budapest 40636.65 40469.80 +0.41% +3.83% Warsaw 2289.25 2300.20 -0.48% +0.55% Bucharest 8516.02 8477.19 +0.46% +15.34% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 871.72 870.12 +0.18% +8.39% > Zagreb 1897.72 1901.30 -0.19% +8.51% Belgrade <.BELEX1 724.20 729.35 -0.71% -4.92% 5> Sofia 579.80 578.71 +0.19% -2.47% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.6150 0.0280 +230bps +5bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.5410 0.0390 +214bps +4bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.5840 -0.0140 +183bps -1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5760 -0.0200 +226bps +1bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 1.9660 -0.0200 +257bps -2bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.4070 -0.0450 +265bps -4bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.17 2.06 1.95 2.17 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.29 0.41 0.51 0.18 Poland 1.74 1.73 1.71 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Gareth Jones)

CEE MARKETS-Polish 10-year bond yield drops to 4-year low

14 Jun 2019

* Bond yields track core markets lower on politics, growth worries * Poland's 10-year bond yield at lowest since early 2015 * Regional currencies set multi-month highs, stocks mostly ease By Sandor Peto and Alicja Ptak BUDAPEST/WARSAW, June 14 Poland's 10-year government bond yield sank to its lowest level in more than four years on Friday after an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf, which the United States blamed on Iran, led to global buying of less risky assets. Tehran denied the allegation following the attacks on Thursday, but concerns grew about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation. The Polish paper traded at 2.3895% at 0843 GMT, down 3 basis points from Thursday's close. "(There is a) big drop in yields worldwide, (and) the rising presence of foreign investors dragged (Polish) yields down," said Michal Zak, dealer at mBank. "Yesterday's (Polish government bond) auction apparently has not covered all positions, if only a day after we see a 10 basis point drop," he added, referring to the fall in yield from Thursday's peak. Bucharest's government bond auction also drew robust demand on Thursday. Although a surge in wages in the region is pushing consumer prices higher, Poland has the lowest annual inflation in the region - revised up to 2.4 percent for May on Friday. Polish rate setter Jerzy Osiatynski said that the central bank may need to start to increase its record low interest rates next year, but in 2019 the cost of credit will not be changed. The corresponding Hungarian yield dropped 4 basis points from Thursday's fixing to 2.75%. "This is what we see recently: bonds are the first to react," one Budapest-based fixed income trader said, adding that worries over global economic growth and politics had pushed yields lower anyway in the past weeks. "All yields are coming down in the world, independent of government budgets and other local factors," the trader said. Bond yields in fast-growing central Europe are above those in the United States, where 10-year Treasuries traded around 2.067%, and well above the corresponding Bund yield which fell to record lows on Friday near -0.27%. Regional stocks mostly eased as worries over the U.S.-China trade war and mixed economic data from China weighed on global stock markets. The United States is due to release key retail sales and industrial production data later on Friday. If the U.S. figures are weak, they are likely to reinforce expectations for Federal Reserve interest rate cuts, which have led to dollar selling in the past weeks, boosting Central European currencies to multi-month highs. The dollar moved sideways against a basket of currencies on Friday and Central European units were also treading water. The zloty, however, touched a 10-month high against the euro at 4.253, and the Czech crown a 5-month high at 25.55. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1043 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.5620 25.5600 -0.01% +0.57% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 321.8800 322.1400 +0.08% -0.25% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2555 4.2564 +0.02% +0.80% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7225 4.7215 -0.02% -1.45% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4110 7.4130 +0.03% -0.01% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.8200 118.0000 +0.15% +0.41% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1046.99 1050.880 -0.37% +6.13% 0 Budapest 40279.81 40469.80 -0.47% +2.91% Warsaw 2285.58 2300.20 -0.64% +0.39% Bucharest 8482.64 8477.19 +0.06% +14.88% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 868.72 870.12 -0.16% +8.01% > Zagreb 1899.80 1901.30 -0.08% +8.63% Belgrade <.BELEX1 728.54 729.35 -0.11% -4.35% 5> Sofia 578.23 578.71 -0.08% -2.73% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.6100 0.0240 +229bps +4bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.5540 0.0530 +216bps +7bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.5840 -0.0140 +185bps +1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5970 0.0010 +228bps +2bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 1.9450 -0.0410 +256bps -3bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.4000 -0.0520 +266bps -3bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.17 2.06 1.95 2.17 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.29 0.44 0.57 0.18 Poland 1.74 1.73 1.71 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

CEE MARKETS-Forint leads easing with central bank seen holding fire

21 May 2019

By Sandor Peto and Alicja Ptak BUDAPEST/WARSAW, May 21 Central European currencies eased on Tuesday on global dollar buying, with the forint leading the way on growing expectations that rising inflation will not prompt a tightening of monetary policy in Hungary. The greenback attracted safe-haven buying due to a rise in Treasury yields and amid signs that Asian economies are feeling the pinch from the U.S.-China trade war. Expectations that eurosceptic parties may fare well in this week's elections for the European Parliament added to pressure on the euro, which in turn weighed on the most liquid currencies in the European Union's eastern wing - the Polish zloty and the Hungarian forint. They had shed 0.2% against the euro by 0911 GMT, trading at 4.3056 and 327.1, respectively. The forint touched a new 9-month low of 327.5 and edged closer to record lows set almost a year ago beyond 330. The fundamental cause of the currency's recent weakness has been doubts the dovish central bank (NBH) would fight a rise in inflation with tightening measures. A surge in wages and a rise in oil prices have accelerated inflation across Central Europe this year, prompting the NBH to raise one of its benchmark rates in March and the Czech central bank to raise its main rate early this month. However, both measures were regarded as a "dovish hike", which may not be followed up by any further tightening this year. The Hungarian central bank is not expected to tighten policy at its May 28 meeting, with many market participants also seeing no changes at the June meeting where it will discuss its fresh inflation report. Inflation in Poland is still within the central bank's (NBP) 1.5-3.5% target range, despite a rise to 2.2% in April. Polish corporate sector wages rose by an above-forecast annual 7.1% in April, according to data released on Tuesday. "We expect the upward trend to continue in the coming months," said Jakub Rybacki, economist at ING, citing an NBP survey of companies on their wage plans. Although the European Parliament elections are unlikely to affect markets in Hungary, one Budapest-based dealer said they may cause some political uncertainty in Poland. A possible opposition victory could galvanise supporters ahead of a general election later this year, while a likely low turnout may limit any impact, analysts have said. The region's stock markets and government bonds were mostly rangebound. Prague's main index shed 0.4 percent, driven by Vienna-listed bank Erste CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1111 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.7920 25.7930 +0.00% -0.33% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 327.1000 326.4000 -0.21% -1.84% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.3056 4.2975 -0.19% -0.37% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7630 4.7610 -0.04% -2.29% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4270 7.4265 -0.01% -0.23% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.8700 117.9300 +0.05% +0.36% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1044.85 1049.340 -0.43% +5.91% 0 Budapest 39523.88 39630.71 -0.27% +0.98% Warsaw 2178.32 2175.51 +0.13% -4.32% Bucharest 8204.26 8205.08 -0.01% +11.11% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 862.46 866.03 -0.41% +7.24% > Zagreb 1857.57 1853.43 +0.22% +6.22% Belgrade <.BELEX1 732.87 733.41 -0.07% -3.78% 5> Sofia 568.05 569.37 -0.23% -4.44% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.6110 0.0050 +225bps +0bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.6770 0.0130 +219bps +2bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.8130 -0.0350 +190bps -3bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6820 -0.0030 +232bps -1bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2730 0.0040 +278bps +1bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.9060 0.0060 +300bps +1bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.22 2.22 2.18 2.20 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.42 0.60 0.79 0.21 Poland 1.75 1.76 1.77 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

CEE MARKETS-Bond yields jump, zloty eases on Polish spending spree

25 Feb 2019

* Poland announces spending rise, CEE bond yields surge * Zloty touches 6-year low vs Czech crown * Crown buoyed by PPI jump, central banker Benda comments By Sandor Peto and Alicja Ptak BUDAPEST/WARSAW, Feb 25 Central European sovereign bond yields jumped and the zloty set a six-year low against the Czech crown on Monday after Poland's ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) promised a spending spree. The PiS said it would increase public expenditure by up to $10 billion a year, raising child subsidies, pensions and spending on transport infrastructure. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced new benefits for families two weeks ago, and plans economic incentives to counter an economic slowdown elsewhere in the euro zone that has been holding back robust growth in Central Europe. Parties across Europe are looking ahead to European Parliament elections in May, and Poland is also due to hold a parliamentary election later this year. The yield on Poland's 10-year benchmark bond jumped above 3 percent before retreating to 2.75 percent by 1000 GMT, up 9 basis points from Friday. The new measures could boost Poland's budget deficit to 2.2-2.5 percent of economic output next year, against previous expectations of 1.9 percent, ING analyst said in a note. Bank Millennium analysts said the deficit could approach 3 percent, the European Union's limit, and may even exceed it in the long run. Hungary's 10-year yield rebounded to 2.69 percent from Friday's 2.62 percent. The rise may have been caused by a combination of technical factors and the impact of the Polish increase, Budapest-based ING analyst Peter Virovacz said. The size of Hungary's upcoming stimulus package is not known. Worries over the budget are unlikely, given that Fitch upgraded Hungary's sovereign rating just on Friday, a week after a similar move from S&P, he said. The forint was down a shade to 317.9 against the euro by 0946 GMT. The zloty shed 0.1 percent to 4.339, moving closer to the weak end of the past seven months' narrow 4.25-4.35 range. Against the crown, the zloty touched a six-year low at 5.8972. Last week it hit its weakest level against the forint since 2017. That divergence has been driven by expectations of monetary tightening in Budapest and Prague, while the Polish central bank is seen keeping rates on hold this year and beyond. Expectations of Czech rate hikes were reinforced by a strong 2.9 percent annual rise in industrial producer prices in January and comments from rate setter Vojtech Benda, who said a no-deal Brexit could prompt a rate hike. "Besides this (producer prices), the economy showed unusually strong growth in the last quarter," said Viktor Zeisel, head economist at Komercni Banka. "These are the reasons why we re-evaluated our expectations and now expect the CNB will raise rates at its March meeting." CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1046 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6360 25.6390 +0.01% +0.28% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 317.9000 317.7000 -0.06% +1.00% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.3390 4.3348 -0.10% -1.14% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7580 4.7604 +0.05% -2.19% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4300 7.4255 -0.06% -0.27% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.1000 118.2000 +0.08% +0.17% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1062.71 1060.230 +0.23% +7.72% 0 Budapest 40767.35 40814.60 -0.12% +4.16% Warsaw 2363.19 2355.77 +0.31% +3.80% Bucharest 7778.03 7766.87 +0.14% +5.34% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 844.46 849.61 -0.61% +5.00% > Zagreb 1775.09 1776.30 -0.07% +1.50% Belgrade <.BELEX1 683.42 684.61 -0.17% -10.28% 5> Sofia 585.64 582.49 +0.54% -1.48% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 2.0010 0.2040 +255bps +19bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.8140 0.0170 +218bps +0bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.9240 0.0430 +181bps +2bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6160 0.0450 +216bps +3bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2390 0.0860 +260bps +7bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.8580 0.1040 +274bps +8bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.24 2.28 2.29 2.02 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.35 0.55 0.75 0.15 Poland 1.73 1.73 1.73 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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