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Krisztina Than

Historic Budapest synagogue to reopen amid Jewish cultural revival

16 Aug 2019

BUDAPEST Tamas Irsai was a teenager when he last sang in the choir in Budapest's Rumbach synagogue during World War Two, before most Hungarian Jews were deported to death camps.

Afghan woman finds peace, hope in painting at Hungary migrant camp

09 Aug 2019

BUDAPEST A young Afghan woman, who has been in a holding camp for asylum seekers on Hungary's border for months, gets only a faraway glimpse of trees from her home in a shipping container. So she paints trees, birds and flowers to help long days pass by.

CEE MARKETS-Lender OTP boosts Budapest stock index, regional FX treads water

09 Aug 2019

By Radu-Sorin Marinas and Krisztina Than BUCHAREST, Aug 9 Hungary led central European share gains on Friday, driven by strong earnings by OTP , the region's biggest independent lender, while currencies trod water, mirroring the euro that shrugged off Italy's ruling coalition tensions. OTP shares initially rose as much as 2.6% before paring gains marginally to trade at 12,600 by 0830 GMT, outperforming Budapest's as its net profit jumped 18% on the year in the second quarter to 105.4 billion forint. OTP Bank Nyrt Deputy CEO Laszlo Bencsik told a news conference that the operating environment in Hungary is "very positive," with 4.8% gross domestic product rise expected this year. Bencsik added the bank's recent acquisitions in Montenegro and in Moldova will already have an impact on the third quarter's results. "Besides the relatively favourable international sentiment, the better than expected results published by OTP could also help the stock market rise this morning," said brokerage Equilor. Hungary's rose as much as 0.9%. Other stocks in the region were mixed, with Poland's blue-chip WIG 20 index down 0.6%, Prague's PX index rising 0.3% and Bucharest's easing 0.4%. By 0840 GMT the forint and the Czech crown both edged down by same 0.1% token while the Romanian leu and the Polish zloty were virtually unchanged. Elsewhere, minutes of the Aug. 1, Czech central bank's (CNB) meeting showed its board voted unanimously to leave interest rates unchanged at 2.00%. CEE SNAPSHO AT 1037 MARKETS T CET CURRENC IES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.8220 25.7990 -0.09% -0.45% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 324.570 324.1600 -0.13% -1.07% forint > 0 Polish <EURPLN= 4.3215 4.3210 -0.01% -0.74% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7255 4.7225 -0.06% -1.51% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.3890 7.3793 -0.13% +0.28% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.540 117.6400 +0.09% +0.65% dinar > 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1023.37 1020.5300 +0.28% +3.73% Budapest 40655.4 40389.38 +0.66% +3.87% 1 Warsaw 2145.36 2158.88 -0.63% -5.77% Bucharest 9085.66 9121.20 -0.39% +23.05% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 856.93 859.44 -0.29% +6.55% > Zagreb 1899.94 1897.72 +0.12% +8.64% Belgrade <.BELEX1 746.59 742.05 +0.61% -1.98% 5> Sofia 584.27 583.82 +0.08% -1.71% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 0.9900 -0.0040 +185bp +1bps R> s 5-year <CZ5YT=R 0.8000 0.0130 +166bp +3bps R> s 10-year <CZ10YT= 0.9980 0.0070 +159bp +4bps RR> s Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5760 0.0200 +244bp +4bps R> s 5-year <PL5YT=R 1.8240 0.0210 +268bp +4bps R> s 10-year <PL10YT= 2.0070 0.0000 +259bp +3bps RR> s FORWARD RATE AGREEMENT 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interbank Czech Rep 2.01 1.87 1.69 2.15 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.28 0.31 0.33 0.25 Poland 1.72 1.69 1.68 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask quotes prices ************************************************ ************** (Editing by Keith Weir)

CEE MARKETS-Assets ease across Central Europe amid global gloom

05 Aug 2019

By Krisztina Than BUDAPEST, Aug 5 Central European assets extended falls on Monday morning as global markets were gripped by concerns over an escalation of the U.S.-China trade war, which has boosted risk aversion. Local factors had little role in driving emerging markets in the European Union's eastern wing on Monday. Stock markets fell, and currencies eased across the board. Romania's central bank is widely expected to keep rates unchanged at 2.5% at a meeting later in the day. Helped by loose policies by major global central banks, Central Europe's rate-setters have adopted a wait-and-see mode lately despite a rise in inflation earlier this year. "The new week begins with continuing negative moods. The escalation of trade wars and concerns about global economic growth, fueled by successive U.S. tariffs imposed on China have a negative impact on market sentiment," Bank Millennium said in a note. "The zloty remains under pressure to weaken." The bank said the continuation of risk aversion could result in a further easing of the Polish currency towards the next technical barrier which is at 4.34 versus the euro. The Hungarian forint was hovering around 327.60 to the euro and some analysts said the currency could head towards all-time lows around 330 if negative sentiment prevails. At 0813 GMT, the forint was down 0.16% against the euro at 327.60. The Polish zloty shed 0.24% to 4.3165. The Czech crown was at 25.7710, flat from Friday's closing. "The crown remains at weaker levels around 25.75 per euro, where it got after a hawkish Fed and the announcement of a new wave of U.S. tariffs against China. Trade wars will be a theme for the region this week too and we assume that the crown could test once again the level of 25.80," CSOB analysts said in a morning note. Last Thursday, the Czech National Bank (CNB) left its two-week repo rate at 2.00%, and signalled rates would remain unchanged in coming quarters, as momentum in the domestic economy offsets monetary easing abroad. Coming just after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the first U.S rate cut in over a decade was not the start of a lengthy series, U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on Thursday about new tariffs on Chinese imports was a fresh blow to risk-sensitive emerging-market assets. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 0959 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.7710 25.7600 -0.04% -0.25% crown Hungary 327.6000 327.0700 -0.16% -1.99% forint Polish 4.3165 4.3060 -0.24% -0.62% zloty Romanian 4.7333 4.7300 -0.07% -1.68% leu Croatian 7.3800 7.3805 +0.01% +0.41% kuna Serbian 117.5800 117.7000 +0.10% +0.61% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1031.78 1040.370 -0.83% +4.58% 0 Budapest 40137.10 40309.61 -0.43% +2.55% Warsaw 2199.52 2216.51 -0.77% -3.39% Bucharest 9041.53 9068.90 -0.30% +22.45% Ljubljana 867.26 870.99 -0.43% +7.83% Zagreb 1904.28 1904.28 +0.00% +8.89% Belgrade <.BELEX15 734.81 738.32 -0.48% -3.53% > Sofia 581.59 580.08 +0.26% -2.16% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.0470 -0.0080 +184bps +0bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.0220 0.0420 +180bps +6bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.0890 -0.0150 +161bps +1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5250 -0.0180 +232bps -1bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.7600 -0.0640 +254bps -5bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.0410 -0.0540 +256bps -3bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.11 1.97 1.84 2.16 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.32 0.36 0.40 0.26 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.73 1.70 1.69 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ For related news and prices, click on the codes in brackets: All emerging market news Spot FX rates Eastern Europe spot FX Middle East spot FX Asia spot FX Latin America spot FX Other news and reports World central bank news Economic Data Guide Official rates Emerging Diary Top events Diaries Diaries Index (Reporting by Krisztina Than, additional reporting by Alan Charlish in Warsaw and Robert Muller in Prague; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

Hungary rejects rule-of-law criteria for EU funding -minister

24 Jul 2019

BUDAPEST Hungary's new justice minister warned Budapest will resist any European Commission effort to condition EU development funding to rule-of-law standards, which Brussels sees as being undermined by the nationalist Hungarian authorities.

CEE MARKETS-Currencies steady as Central Europe's central banks in wait-and-see mode

24 Jul 2019

By Krisztina Than BUDAPEST, July 24 Central Europe's currencies were little changed in slow trade early on Wednesday, with the forint also hovering around its Tuesday levels after the Hungarian central bank maintained its dovish stance at its rate-setting meeting. With the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve both having flagged monetary easing, the region's main central banks have adopted a wait-and-see attitude to policy. At 0730 GMT, the forint was flat at 325.80 to the euro, firmer than last week's low of 326.83. Poland's zloty , Romania's leu and the Czech crown were unchanged. While global monetary policy remains loose, there is no pressure on rate-setters in the region to act and they can continue to support their fast-growing economies. The ECB meets on Thursday, and investors are waiting for signals on how fast its policymakers will ease conditions to help the euro zone economy. The National Bank of Hungary left its interest rates unchanged on Tuesday as expected, and affirmed its accommodative stance, saying data since its June policy meeting confirmed its view that inflation will decline from the end of this year. "In our view, the recent turn with regard to the future direction of monetary policies in developed markets ... has opened a wide room of manoeuvre for the NBH allowing it not to tighten its policy in any meaningful way," Erste Bank analysts said in a note after the rate decision. The Czech Republic will hold a government bond auction later on Tuesday which is expected to attract sufficient demand, traders said. "We expect demand to be strongish today, as was the case in the past few auctions," Komercni Banka said in a note. "The bid/cover ratios are unlikely to be extreme anymore with the nominal yields very low but still will generate sufficient demand for the auction to be called strong." The Czech central bank has also paused on rate tightening following eight increases in the last two years, ad given guidance for stability ahead. The bank releases an update on its economic outlook on Aug. 1. Poland's main rate remains at 1.5%, and analysts expect there will be no appetite among policymakers to change it any time soon. Stock markets were mixed, with marginal moves in early trade. Budapest was up 0.3 %, Prague traded 0.2% higher, and Warsaw was 0.2% lower. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 0930 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previou Daily Change s bid close change in 2019 EURCZK Czech <EURCZK 25.5550 25.5480 -0.03% +0.59% = crown => EURHUF Hungary <EURHUF 325.800 325.840 +0.01% -1.45% = forint => 0 0 EURPLN Polish <EURPLN 4.2565 4.2578 +0.03% +0.78% = zloty => EURRON Romanian <EURRON 4.7205 4.7207 +0.00% -1.41% = leu => EURHRK Croatian <EURHRK 7.3845 7.3840 -0.01% +0.35% = kuna => EURRSD Serbian <EURRSD 117.810 117.830 +0.02% +0.42% = dinar => 0 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previou Daily Change s close change in 2019 .PX Prague 1072.99 1071.22 +0.17% +8.76% 00 .BUX Budapest 41485.0 41367.2 +0.28% +5.99% 2 2 .WIG20 Warsaw <.WIG20 2330.60 2335.86 -0.23% +2.37% > .BETI Buchares 9029.80 9065.40 -0.39% +22.29 t % .SBITO Ljubljan <.SBITO 869.99 868.50 +0.17% +8.17% P a P> .CRBEX Zagreb <.CRBEX 1912.55 1912.15 +0.02% +9.36% > .BELEX Belgrade <.BELEX 746.49 746.99 -0.07% -2.00% 15 15> .SOFIX Sofia <.SOFIX 579.08 579.15 -0.01% -2.59% > BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic CZ2YT= 2-year <CZ2YT= 1.3680 0.0020 +217bp +2bps RR RR> s CZ5YT= 5-year <CZ5YT= 1.1970 0.0030 +193bp +2bps RR RR> s CZ10YT <CZ10YT 1.3910 0.0040 +176bp +1bps =RR 10-year =RR> s Poland PL2YT= 2-year <PL2YT= 1.5700 -0.0110 +237bp +1bps RR RR> s PL5YT= 5-year <PL5YT= 1.7700 -0.1070 +250bp -9bps RR RR> s PL10YT <PL10YT 2.1120 -0.0030 +248bp +1bps =RR 10-year =RR> s FORWARD RATE AGREEME NT 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech <CZKFRA 2.15 2.05 1.97 2.16 Rep ><PRIBO R=> Hungary <HUFFRA 0.32 0.38 0.43 0.26 ><BUBOR => Poland <PLNFRA 1.73 1.71 1.69 1.72 ><WIBOR => Note: are for ask FRA prices quotes ******************************************** ****************** (Reporting by Krisztina Than, additional reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Catherine Evans)

Hungary's favourite gardener still digging up new tips as he turns 100

19 Jul 2019

BUDAPEST Gyorgy Balint, Hungary's favourite gardener, turns 100 this month and his advice is more sought after than ever. | Video

China says U.S. should 'not play with fire' on Taiwan

12 Jul 2019

BUDAPEST China's top diplomat Wang Yi warned the United States on Friday that it should "not play with fire" on the question of Taiwan, expressing anger about a planned U.S. arms sale.

CEE MARKETS-Currencies on weaker footing after US data, inflation eyed

08 Jul 2019

By Krisztina Than BUDAPEST, July 8 Central European currencies started Monday on a weaker footing after strong payroll data in the U.S. on Friday dampened rate cut hopes and boosted the dollar, which weighed on riskier assets in the emerging region of the European Union. The strength of the dollar has kept a lid on Central European currencies for some time. "We assume that thanks to Friday's solid payroll data and signals from the Fed, expectations for an interest rate cut in the U.S. in July will fall, which will be positive for the dollar and negative for the zloty and other CEE currencies," said Marcin Sulewski, economist at Santander Bank Polska. "In the next few days we expect some profit-taking on the zloty, supported by an expected strengthening of the dollar." Given the strength shown in U.S. jobs data, investors now expect U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to go slow on rate cuts this year. "Most emerging market currencies weakened on Friday and the forint was no exception," brokerage Equilor said in a note. If the forint weakens beyond a support level of 324.40, it said, then it could ease further towards 325 versus the euro, and then even to 327.50. At 0800 GMT, the forint traded at 324.24, steady from Friday, but down one percent so far this year. Besides signals from the Fed, investors in Central Europe will be also closely watching inflation data coming out this week in the region. A dovish shift by the European Central Bank has reduced pressure on the region's monetary authorities in recent weeks to tighten their own policy, even though inflation has picked up this year. In its fresh inflation report published on Monday, the Polish central bank sees inflation rising to 2.9% next year from 2% this year, while it projects that economic growth will slow to 4% from 4.5%. Hungary's annual headline inflation is expected to have slowed to 3.6% in June from 3.9% in May, according to a Reuters poll of analysts. The data is due to be published on Tuesday. "The Hungarian labour market remains tight but slowing growth and disinflationary pressure from abroad should contribute to a moderation in the middle of 2020," Morgan Stanley said in a note. Late last month the Hungarian central bank left interest rates unchanged and kept its dovish stance despite raising its inflation forecasts for the coming years, after the European Central Bank (ECB) flagged further easing. Deputy Governor Marton Nagy has told Reuters in an interview that the economy is in a high-pressure phase with strong wage and output growth, but the risk of overheating was very low despite inflation nearing the top of its 2-4% target range. "We think a more dovish ECB will delay the process of (Hungarian monetary policy) normalisation," Morgan Stanley said. CEE SNAPSHO AT 1000 MARKETS T CET CURRENC IES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 EURCZK= Czech <EURCZK= 25.4920 25.5045 +0.05 +0.84% crown > % EURHUF= Hungary <EURHUF= 324.240 324.3600 +0.04 -0.97% forint > 0 % EURPLN= Polish <EURPLN= 4.2517 4.2515 -0.01% +0.89% zloty > EURRON= Romania <EURRON= 4.7240 4.7243 +0.01 -1.48% n leu > % EURHRK= Croatia <EURHRK= 7.3950 7.3980 +0.04 +0.20% n kuna > % EURRSD= Serbian <EURRSD= 117.640 117.7000 +0.05 +0.56% dinar > 0 % Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 .PX Prague 1052.90 1052.1000 +0.08 +6.72% % .BUX Budapes 41007.7 41016.65 -0.02% +4.77% t 5 .WIG20 Warsaw 2340.01 2342.01 -0.09% +2.78% .BETI Buchare 8908.04 8967.08 -0.66% +20.64% st .SBITOP Ljublja <.SBITOP 886.90 890.20 -0.37% +10.28% na > .CRBEX Zagreb 1888.77 1895.96 -0.38% +8.00% .BELEX1 Belgrad <.BELEX1 742.71 743.57 -0.12% -2.49% 5 e 5> .SOFIX Sofia 580.87 580.70 +0.03 -2.29% % BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs change in Bund Czech spread Republi c CZ2YT=R <CZ2YT=R 1.5170 0.0370 +226b +4bps R 2-year R> ps CZ5YT=R <CZ5YT=R 1.3470 0.1090 +203b +11bps R 5-year R> ps CZ10YT= <CZ10YT= 1.4690 -0.0190 +185b +0bps RR 10-year RR> ps Poland PL2YT=R <PL2YT=R 1.6190 -0.0950 +236b -9bps R 2-year R> ps PL5YT=R <PL5YT=R 1.9000 0.0040 +258b +1bps R 5-year R> ps PL10YT= <PL10YT= 2.2770 -0.0100 +265b +1bps RR 10-year RR> ps FORWARD RATE AGREEMENT 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interbank Czech 2.17 2.07 1.98 2.17 Rep <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.30 0.38 0.46 0.25 Poland 1.73 1.72 1.70 1.72 Note: are for ask FRA prices quotes (Reporting by Krisztina Than, additional reporting by Anna Wlodarczak-Semczuk in Warsaw Editing by Gareth Jones)

CEE MARKETS-Currencies steady, Romanian central bank meeting eyed

04 Jul 2019

By Krisztina Than BUDAPEST, July 4 Central European currencies were steady on Thursday while stock markets were seeking direction, with Budapest shares opening a shade higher after Wall Street hit record highs on Wednesday. Romania's central bank will hold a meeting later in the day where it is expected to keep interest rates on hold, similar to the Polish central bank which held rates on Wednesday despite a rise in inflation. Growth and inflation have crept higher in several eastern European economies. However, the easing bias in core markets has allowed its central banks to avoid rate hikes, analysts have said. Polish, Czech and Hungarian central banks are all expected to keep rates flat this year. The central banks in Central Europe have adopted a wait-and-see stance as there are growing expectations that a slowdown in the euro zone and lower than expected price growth there would also dampen inflation in Central Europe via lower import prices. "Despite the revival of core inflation, the (Polish) MPC maintains a high bar for action, in our view," Morgan Stanley said in a note. "Even if inflation continued to surprise on the upside, we think the NBP would downplay this on the grounds of expected moderation in the medium term." ​The Polish central bank kept rates on hold on Wednesday and increased its CPI and GDP growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 and reiterated that there may be no need to change rates until 2022. The Polish zloty was flat versus the euro at 0822 GMT, and so was the Hungarian forint. "We expect increased volatility in the core markets tomorrow, when the data from the US labour market will be available. These will be important in shaping market expectations ahead of the July Fed meeting," Bank Millennium said in a note. In Romania, the central bank hiked its main rate to 2.50% in May 2018 and has since tightened monetary policy by controlling money market liquidity, which it said gave it more flexibility. Inflation is expected to remain above the bank's 1.5-3.5% target this year. Economic growth is set to slow, while fiscal and current account deficits are rising, fuelled by consumption-friendly public sector wage hikes. Romanian central bank Governor Mugur Isarescu will hold a briefing at 1200 GMT after the rate decision. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1022 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previou Daily Change s bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.440 25.4590 n/a n/a crown Hungary 322.400 322.550 +0.05% -0.41% forint 0 0 Polish 4.2393 4.2420 +0.06% +1.19% zloty Romanian 4.7250 4.7240 -0.02% -1.50% leu Croatian 7.3950 7.3973 +0.03% +0.20% kuna Serbian 117.720 117.800 +0.07% +0.49% dinar 0 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previou Daily Change s close change in 2019 Prague 1049.04 1049.29 -0.02% +6.33% 00 Budapest 41106.6 40985.1 +0.30% +5.03% 6 8 Warsaw 2345.53 2345.56 -0.00% +3.03% Bucharest 8860.80 8845.25 +0.18% +20.01% Ljubljana 880.89 880.89 +0.00% +9.53% Zagreb 1879.00 1879.00 +0.00% +7.44% Belgrade <.BELEX15 741.88 741.88 +0.00% -2.60% > Sofia 581.48 581.48 +0.00% -2.18% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.5190 0.0370 +227bp +3bps > s 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.3500 0.0340 +204bp +4bps > s 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.4890 -0.0050 +188bp +0bps R> s Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5840 -0.0050 +233bp -1bps > s 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.9000 -0.0020 +259bp +0bps > s 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.3170 0.0060 +271bp +1bps R> s FORWARD RATE AGREEME NT 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interbank Czech Rep < 2.17 2.10 2.00 2.17 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.34 0.45 0.56 0.25 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.75 1.72 1.72 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes *********************************************** *************** (Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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