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United Kingdom

Robert Muller

Czech Finance Minister prefers savings to raising deficit in 2020 if slowdown worsens

11 Oct 2019

PRAGUE Another round of administrative savings would be better than letting the 2020 Czech central state budget deficit swell if an economic slowdown worsens and hits state income, Finance Minister Alena Schillerova said in an interview on Friday.

Czech interest rates going nowhere for next 12 months - cenbank Mora

11 Sep 2019

PRAGUE, Sept 11 Czech interest rates should stay on an even keel over the next year to keep domestic inflationary pressures under control even while global central banks shift to policy easing, Czech National Bank Vice-Governor Marek Mora said in an interview.

Huawei feels no big impact from Czech, Polish security fears

09 Sep 2019

PRAGUE Security concerns in Poland and the Czech Republic over telecoms equipment made by Huawei Technologies have not had a significant business impact despite creating uncertainty, a deputy head of central Europe and the Nordics said.

Habsburg stud farm rides to UNESCO world heritage status

18 Jul 2019

KLADRUBY, Czech Republic The Kladruby stud in the Czech Republic has been breeding horses for royal service since the 1500s, when its sleek grey stallions were seen as a symbol of Habsburg power.

Czech Social Democrats dig in heels over minister nominee, threatening government

15 Jul 2019

PRAGUE The Czech Republic's junior coalition party the Social Democrats said on Monday they were sticking with their preferred candidate for culture minister, prolonging a spat that is threatening the survival of Prime Minister Andrej Babis's minority government.

Consumer lender Home Credit plans more than $1 billion Hong Kong float

15 Jul 2019

PRAGUE/HONG KONG Consumer lender Home Credit B.V. on Monday filed for a Hong Kong initial public offering, which two sources said could raise more than $1 billion, just three days after AB InBev shelved the listing of its Asian business.

CEE MARKETS-Assets shrug off weaker PMI data across the region

01 Jul 2019

By Marton Dunai and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, July 1 Emerging European assets mostly shrugged off worsening business sentiment readings and moved sideways, in a market that focused on the ramifications of a global trade war for core markets and kept investors guessing about emerging-market assets. While large central banks around the world try to maintain growth in the face of hostile trade relations, eastern Europe's economic outlook for now has provided a steadier hand for policymakers - but they keep their eyes peeled on a spillover of growth woes. "We expect (large) central banks to continue to try and offset the risks of a trade-war induced recession," Citibank said in a note to clients. "The ECB in particular looks ready for 'whatever it takes' part 2." Growth and inflation have crept higher in several eastern European economies, and the easing bias in core markets has allowed its central banks to avoid rate hikes, analysts have said. Polish, Czech and Hungarian central banks will all keep rates flat all year, polls suggest. But in the longer term, the trade war's effects are expected to seep into the region, posing a monetary policy challenge. "The current global environment remains challenging and will also impact the Czech economy sooner or later," said Jakub Seidler, ING chief economist for Czech Republic. "We see the (central bank) on hold... (in) a wait-and-see approach." Business sentiment surveys, which showed marked contraction in Czech and Polish business sectors and a slowing expansion in Hungary, did not faze markets just yet as growth projections there remained rosy. Polish PMI was lower than expected, below the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction for the eighth month in a row. Economists were surprised that the fall was due to domestic demand, not export. "Worryingly, the declines in output and new business gathered pace, although the hit on the headline PMI was tempered somewhat by the first increase in employment in five months," said Trevor Balchin, director at IHS Markit. Czech PMI fell to a near 10-year low in June due to a faster-than-expected decrease in production and a fall in new business, Markit said on Monday. "The rate of contraction quicken(ed) to the fastest since December 2012. The decline was linked to weaker foreign and domestic client demand," it said. "The contraction was marked overall as firms noted that weaker demand and unplanned shutdowns in the automotive sector had weighed on new order volumes. New business from abroad fell at the fastest rate for a decade." Hungary's seasonally adjusted PMI fell to 54.4 in June from 57.9 in May but remained above the 50-point mark separating growth in manufacturing from contraction. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1013 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech 25.4180 25.4460 +0.11% +1.14% crown Hungary 322.7600 322.8500 +0.03% -0.52% forint Polish 4.2420 4.2472 +0.12% +1.12% zloty Romanian 4.7314 4.7285 -0.06% -1.64% leu Croatian 7.3980 7.3981 +0.00% +0.16% kuna Serbian 117.7500 117.9000 +0.13% +0.47% dinar Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1041.71 1041.730 -0.00% +5.59% 0 Budapest 40637.81 40279.31 +0.89% +3.83% Warsaw 2350.81 2327.67 +0.99% +3.26% Bucharest 8803.92 8814.27 -0.12% +19.23% Ljubljana 879.84 881.59 -0.20% +9.40% Zagreb 1882.57 1883.11 -0.03% +7.65% Belgrade <.BELEX15 730.12 731.62 -0.21% -4.14% > Sofia 587.40 587.81 -0.07% -1.19% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=RR 1.4830 0.0240 +222bps +2bps > 5-year <CZ5YT=RR 1.3490 0.0570 +201bps +6bps > 10-year <CZ10YT=R 1.5440 0.0000 +187bps +0bps R> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=RR 1.6220 -0.0010 +236bps +0bps > 5-year <PL5YT=RR 1.9650 -0.0100 +263bps -1bps > 10-year <PL10YT=R 2.3940 0.0000 +272bps +0bps R> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep < 2.18 2.12 2.02 2.17 PRIBOR=> Hungary < 0.34 0.45 0.56 0.25 BUBOR=> Poland < 1.74 1.73 1.72 1.72 WIBOR=> Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************** ************ (Reporting by Marton Dunai)

CEE MARKETS-Crown creeps higher after Czech bank retains neutral outlook

26 Jun 2019

* Czech central bank keeps rates on hold, retains neutral stance * Crown bucks easing of forint and zloty on dollar rebound * Crown is off 9-month highs reached on technical factors * Dovish ECB signals play key role in CEE central bank decisions (Recasts, with Czech central bank decision and comments) By Sandor Peto and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, June 26 The crown bucked a weakening of other Central European currencies on Wednesday as the Czech central bank retained its neutral rate outlook, not following recent dovish signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. The forint and the zloty shed 0.2% against the euro by 1330 GMT. They weakened as investors bought the dollar after a Federal Reserve official tempered expectations for aggressive monetary easing. Earlier expectations for deeper Fed rate cuts and last week's dovish comments from the European Central Bank were positive for currencies in Central Europe. Some market participants had expected dovish signals from the Czech central bank (CNB) at a news conference after a meeting on Wednesday. Governor Jiri Rusnok said the CNB continued to watch signals from abroad, but said rates could stay unchanged for a relatively long period and that the bank's stance was neutral. One of the seven rate setters even voted for a rate rise. The crown traded at 25.47 to the euro, a tad firmer than Tuesday's close but still near a nine-month high of 25.435 reached late on Tuesday. Domestic factors pushed some central banks in the region into tighter policies as economies in the region grow faster than euro zone peers, and strong wage growth has boosted consumer prices. Dovish policy signals from the ECB, however, suggest that prices of imports from the euro zone could slow and help moderate inflation pressure in Central Europe. The National Bank of Hungary (NBH) cited those signals after its meeting on Tuesday as a justification for keeping rates on hold despite a rise in annual inflation to near the top of its 2-4% target range, while it said it would continue to watch incoming economic data. Some liquidity tightening by the bank and a hike in its -0.05% overnight interest rate into positive territory remains likely in September, KBC analysts said in a note. "It is quite clear that the NBH's next move will be even more dependent on the ECB's action and they want to keep the low interest environment as long as possible," they said. Hungary's 10-year government bond yield was fixed 5 basis points higher at 2.66%, reflecting a smaller rise in the corresponding U.S. and German yields. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1530 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.4700 25.4780 +0.03% +0.93% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 323.6000 322.9500 -0.20% -0.78% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2626 4.2545 -0.19% +0.63% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7235 4.7199 -0.08% -1.47% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.3950 7.3975 +0.03% +0.20% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.7600 117.8400 +0.07% +0.46% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1034.14 1040.050 -0.57% +4.82% 0 Budapest 40221.19 40061.95 +0.40% +2.77% Warsaw 2314.66 2303.31 +0.49% +1.67% Bucharest 8655.51 8594.90 +0.71% +17.22% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 887.83 890.23 -0.27% +10.39% > Zagreb 1902.38 1905.02 -0.14% +8.78% Belgrade <.BELEX1 724.06 722.28 +0.25% -4.94% 5> Sofia 576.77 575.34 +0.25% -2.98% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.5490 0.0760 +229bps +8bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.3540 0.0600 +201bps +5bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.5210 -0.0250 +184bps -4bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5790 0.0070 +232bps +1bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 1.9420 0.0130 +259bps +0bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.3540 0.0360 +268bps +3bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.17 2.06 1.96 2.17 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.32 0.43 0.54 0.25 Poland 1.73 1.73 1.71 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Susan Fenton)

CEE MARKETS-Crown eases off 9-month high, Czech rates seen on hold

26 Jun 2019

* Crown joins CEE fx easing as dollar rebounds on Fed comments * Czech central bank seen keeping rates on hold * Crown is off 9-month highs reached on technical factors * Dovish ECB signals play key role in CEE central bank decisions By Sandor Peto and Robert Muller BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, June 26 The crown retreated from 9-month highs reached against the euro in the previous session as the Czech central bank (CNB) was expected to keep rates on hold at its meeting on Wednesday, and dollar buying weakened Central European currencies. Demand for the dollar often influences the region's units. Funds flowed into the greenback after a Federal Reserve official tempered expectations for aggressive monetary easing. The forint and the zloty shed 0.2% against the euro by 0831 GMT. The crown eased 0.1% to 25.497, still near Tuesday's 9-month highs of 25.435. The CNB, after delivering its eighth interest rate hike in two years in early May, is expected to keep its 2% two-week repo rate on hold in its decision due at 1100 GMT. Technical factors rather than monetary tightening expectations boosted the crown on Tuesday as some speculative positions were closed so as to stop losses, after the currency crossed 25.52-25.53 versus the euro, one dealer said. Positions are also closed in the market because the end of the half year is near. "I would not expect anything market-moving from the CNB today, after all, they can be quite happy with the crown at these levels," the dealer said. Earlier expectations for deeper Fed rate cuts and last week's dovish comments from the European Central Bank were positive to currencies in the European Union's eastern wing. Economies in the region grow faster than euro zone peers, and a fast catch-up with higher Western wages has boosted consumer prices in the past months. Dovish policy signals from the ECB, however, indicated that import prices could help moderate inflation. The National Bank of Hungary cited those signals after its meeting on Tuesday as a justification for keeping rates on hold despite a rise in annual inflation near the top of its 2-4% target range, while it said it would continue to watch incoming economic data. While most analysts expect Czech rates to stay on hold in the rest of the year, some market participants do not rule out dovish noise from the CNB. "We expect CPI to peak mainly due to considerable base effects related to energy prices and the headline rate to fall back towards the CNB 2% mid-target point in the upcoming months (similar to Hungary)," Raiffeisen analyst Stephan Imre said in a note. "This coupled with signs of economic moderation should prompt a moderate CNB easing cycle as early as Q1 2020; our call has received additional support recently on the heels of another ECB (& FED) dovish push," he added. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1031 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.4970 25.4780 -0.07% +0.82% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 323.6500 322.9500 -0.22% -0.79% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2635 4.2545 -0.21% +0.61% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7202 4.7199 -0.01% -1.40% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.3950 7.3975 +0.03% +0.20% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.7600 117.8400 +0.07% +0.46% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1037.57 1040.050 -0.24% +5.17% 0 Budapest 40176.95 40061.95 +0.29% +2.65% Warsaw 2305.32 2303.31 +0.09% +1.26% Bucharest 8588.95 8594.90 -0.07% +16.32% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 889.24 890.23 -0.11% +10.57% > Zagreb 1903.10 1905.02 -0.10% +8.82% Belgrade <.BELEX1 721.69 722.28 -0.08% -5.25% 5> Sofia 574.27 575.34 -0.19% -3.40% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.5490 0.0760 +229bps +9bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.3540 0.0600 +201bps +5bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.5210 -0.0250 +184bps -4bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.5730 0.0010 +232bps +1bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 1.9330 0.0040 +259bps -1bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.3460 0.0280 +267bps +2bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.17 2.06 1.96 2.17 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.33 0.42 0.52 0.24 Poland 1.74 1.73 1.71 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

Slavia Prague hope to turn Chinese cash into European success

07 Jun 2019

PRAGUE Fresh off a surprise quarter-final run in the Europa League and flush with cash from their Chinese owner, Slavia Prague are confident they can do what few clubs from the region have done before - play regularly in the Champions League group stage.

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