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United Kingdom

Marton Dunai

Hungary begins trial of Syrian man accused of leading IS murder brigade

13 Nov 2019

BUDAPEST A Hungarian court on Wednesday began the trial of a Syrian man accused of terrorism and crimes against humanity as a military leader of Islamic State near the city of Homs in 2015, saying he participated in the murders of dozens of people.

Ukraine, NATO issue statement on minority rights after Hungary threat

31 Oct 2019

KIEV/BUDAPEST Ukraine and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Thursday issued a joint statement committing to uphold minority rights in Ukraine, a step welcomed by the Hungarian authorities who had threatened to block Kiev's NATO membership over the issue.

Hungary shakes up top jobs in justice, highlighting government's struggle for influence

29 Oct 2019

BUDAPEST Hungary is set to reappoint its chief prosecutor to a new 9-year term and will remove its main judicial administrator, in moves that critics say highlight premier Viktor Orban's mixed success in influencing the judiciary which remains one of the most independent bodies in Hungarian society.

CEE MARKETS-Currencies steady as investors eye Brexit, OTP Bank gains

22 Oct 2019

By Marton Dunai BUDAPEST, Oct 22 Emerging European assets moved sideways in early trading on Tuesday, as investors awaited a Hungarian central bank interest rate decision due later in the day expected to result in no change in lending rates. Elsewhere there was a dearth of regional political developments after a busy period featuring elections in Poland and Hungary, and a government collapse in Romania, mixing with overall market worries about Brexit and a global trade war. "We are all waiting for the smoke to rise on Brexit," one dealer said in Budapest. "Mild gains in thin trading right now, but wouldn't read much of a trend into that. We'll know more once we see which way Brexit goes." Currencies gained in recent sessions as the UK and the European Commission reached a preliminary deal at the weekend, and appeared to hold on to those gains on Tuesday after global sentiment turned bullish on Brexit and a Sino-U.S. trade deal. The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) is unanimously expected to keep its record low rates and other monetary conditions unchanged on Tuesday, with rates expected to remain at their current lows at least until the end of next year. Hungary's inflation is near the bank's 3% medium-term target and economic growth is subsiding from recent highs, allowing the NBH to sit on the low rates it has championed in support of the economic policies of the government. The forint, central Europe's biggest declining currency this year, hovered near the psychological level of 330 against the euro, after dipping below that level in the morning. Hungarian stocks paced the region, adding half a percent in an otherwise flat equity market, driven mostly by OTP Bank , the exchange's largest stock by far, which scaled record highs as investors remained bullish on the highly profitable lender. OTP has posted record profits in recent years and just completed an ambitious expansion in the Balkans, with more acquisitions and organic growth projected on the medium term. "Fundamentally OTP is attractive, with earnings per share projected at 1,379 forints this year and (set to) rise as far as 1,500 forints next year," Erste Bank said in a note to clients. Historically OTP has been priced at around 10 times earnings per share, meaning such an earnings boom could help push the stock to 15,000 forints on the medium term, Erste noted. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1014 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.5730 25.5750 +0.01% +0.52% crown Hungary 330.1800 330.0000 -0.05% -2.75% forint Polish 4.2755 4.2782 +0.06% +0.33% zloty Romanian 4.7599 4.7576 -0.05% -2.22% leu Croatian 7.4395 7.4363 -0.04% -0.40% kuna Serbian 117.6600 117.6600 +0.00% +0.54% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1053.44 1053.250 +0.02% +6.78% 0 Budapest 41433.71 41234.58 +0.48% +5.86% Warsaw 2181.00 2183.25 -0.10% -4.20% Bucharest 9580.30 9580.63 -0.00% +29.75% Ljubljana 871.85 873.33 -0.17% +8.40% Zagreb 2007.76 2008.19 -0.02% +14.81% Belgrade <.BELEX15 745.30 749.27 -0.53% -2.15% > Sofia 565.08 565.19 -0.02% -4.94% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.4070 0.1690 +207bps +18bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.1370 -0.0200 +177bps -1bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.4170 -0.0070 +178bps +1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.4820 -0.0300 +214bps -2bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.7700 -0.0170 +240bps -1bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.0180 -0.0190 +238bps +0bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.27 2.24 2.18 2.18 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.29 0.32 0.35 0.21 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.72 1.71 1.68 1.71 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai Editing by David Holmes )

New Budapest mayor says his win is blueprint to challenge Orban

16 Oct 2019

BUDAPEST The newly elected mayor of Budapest on Wednesday said his victory in municipal elections on Sunday is a blueprint for beating Hungarian premier Viktor Orban's Fidesz party, which has ruled in an increasingly autocratic way for a decade.

Hungary's opposition wins Budapest election, makes gains in other cities

13 Oct 2019

BUDAPEST Hungary's opposition scored its biggest election victory in a decade on Sunday when liberal challenger Gergely Karacsony ousted ruling-party incumbent Istvan Tarlos as mayor of Budapest and opposition parties made gains in other major cities as well.

CEE MARKETS-Politics dominate news, markets mildly positive

11 Oct 2019

By Marton Dunai and Jason Hovet BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, Oct 11 Emerging European assets opened on a mildly positive note on Friday as politics dominated the news in most markets, with elections due in Poland and Hungary, and the Romanian government falling after losing a confidence vote. Poland, by far the region's largest economy, holds general elections on Sunday in which the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is expected to hold on to power, paving the way for spending increases and likely continued friction with the European Union . The fiscal impact of those measures has mostly been priced in, so an albeit unlikely opposition victory would trigger a sharp rally in Polish assets, Commerzbank said in a note to clients. "Going with the major polls, our base-case is that PiS will win handily and set up a majority government," it said. "Sharp minimum wage hikes and spending increases will follow, driving the fiscal deficit wider next year. Conflict with the EU will continue in the background." Opinion polls show that conservative leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski's PiS, a eurosceptic grouping with a nationalist tilt, is likely to win a second term but may have to seek allies among the opposition. Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dancila's centre-left government collapsed on Thursday after losing a no-confidence vote in parliament, raising the prospect of prolonged political uncertainty due to a fragmented opposition. A new cabinet will be elected in a Parliamentary procedure but a new election is unlikely before next year. The leu has been stable, and Commerzbank said it was unlikely to take a big hit as "changes in government really are nothing new in Romania." "Further depreciation potential is likely to be limited... there is now hope of a new direction being taken in politics, in particular as regards fiscal policy, which would reduce the potential for conflict with the EU." Hungary holds municipal elections on Sunday that may have little impact on local assets - the ruling right-wing Fidesz party is expected to maintain its dominance of municipalities nationwide and of politics overall. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has had a two-thirds majority in parliament - enough to push through constitutional changes - for most of his decade in power, and even the strongest showing for a broad opposition alliance would only dent that dominance slightly. No general election is due until 2022. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 0946 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.8300 25.8210 -0.03% -0.48% crown Hungary 331.5500 332.3200 +0.23% -3.16% forint Polish 4.3048 4.3143 +0.22% -0.35% zloty Romanian 4.7595 4.7553 -0.09% -2.22% leu Croatian 7.4275 7.4255 -0.03% -0.24% kuna Serbian 117.4000 117.5000 +0.09% +0.77% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1005.46 997.2800 +0.82% +1.92% Budapest 39695.92 39466.35 +0.58% +1.42% Warsaw 2130.28 2122.99 +0.34% -6.43% Bucharest 9513.18 9479.50 +0.36% +28.84% Ljubljana 866.12 870.11 -0.46% +7.69% Zagreb 1944.18 1940.56 +0.19% +11.17% Belgrade <.BELEX15 746.67 747.70 -0.14% -1.97% > Sofia 558.51 557.44 +0.19% -6.05% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.2500 -0.0040 +196bps +0bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.0340 0.0090 +176bps +2bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.2470 0.0040 +174bps +1bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.5070 0.0030 +222bps +1bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.6850 -0.0250 +242bps -2bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 1.9270 -0.0070 +242bps +0bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.27 2.24 2.12 2.17 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.27 0.30 0.33 0.21 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.73 1.70 1.68 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

Hungary urges EU dialogue with Turkey to prevent new wave of migrants

10 Oct 2019

BUDAPEST The European Union should have a dialogue with Turkey despite Ankara's offensive on Kurdish-led forces in Syria, in order to avoid a fresh wave of migrants coming to Europe, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday.

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)

Nuclear energy too slow, too expensive to save climate: report

24 Sep 2019

BUDAPEST/PARIS Nuclear power is losing ground to renewables in terms of both cost and capacity as its reactors are increasingly seen as less economical and slower to reverse carbon emissions, an industry report said.

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