March 19, 2020 / 2:03 PM / in 21 days

UPDATE 1-CEE MARKETS-Romania's central bank halts leu slide, forint hits new low

 (Updates with Romanian leu, dealer comments, bonds)
    By Jason Hovet and Radu-Sorin Marinas
    PRAGUE/BUCHAREST, March 19 (Reuters) - Romania's central
bank jumped in to halt the leu's fall to new lows on Thursday,
dealers said, and Hungary's forint also sank to a record low as
a sell-off amid global coronavirus worries continued to hit
central Europe hard.
    The Czech crown stabilised slightly but has lost around 8%
already in March to lead the region down, as long-held positions
unwind. The forint and the Polish zloty are both down more than
5%.
    The Romanian leu touched a new low of 4.87 to the
euro on Wednesday, leading the central bank to step into the
foreign exchange market on Thursday, according to dealers.
    "It's been there to cushion the slide," one said.
    The central bank declined to comment.
    The leu fell as low as 4.8610 to the euro early, before
trading 0.2% up on the day at 4.845 by 1323 GMT.
    The forint was down 0.7% at 356.90 to the euro,
off a new all-time low of 359.50. The zloty lost 0.4%
to 4.556 and the crown regained 0.5% on the day to
27.620 per euro after weakening to nearly 28 on Wednesday.
    Stock markets also continued their wild ride, gaining up to
3% after sharp losses this week.
    Central Europe's open economies are set to be hit by the
disruptions to business and daily life being felt around the
world as governments seek to contain the spread of the new
coronavirus that has infected more than 200,000 worldwide.
    In central Europe, borders were closed, restaurants and
shops were mostly ordered to shut and major factories announced
production halts across the region, including all the major car
producers that are the lifeblood of the regions' economies.
    The Czech and Polish central banks have been delivered rate
cuts and Hungary's on Thursday detailed more help to maintain
banks' lending capacity.
    On bond markets, Poland's central bank bought back bonds
worth 2.66 billion zloty  ($630.35 million) as part of a new
programme. 
    The crown is at five-year lows, its sharp move lower in
large part due to the unwinding of huge positions that had been
built up in the currency when the central bank was pursuing a
policy of intervention to keep it weak between 2013 and 2017,
analysts and traders said.
    Dealers said liquidity was poor and spreads wide, leading to
fiercer moves. "This is a stop-loss run," one dealer said.
    
                   CEE      SNAPSHO                           
                   MARKETS  T                          
                            CURRENC                           
                            IES                        
                            Latest   Previou  Daily    Change
                                     s                 
                            bid      close    change   in 2020
 EURCZK  Czech     <EURCZK  27.6200  27.7565   +0.49%   -7.92%
 =       crown     =>                                  
 EURHUF  Hungary   <EURHUF  356.900  354.420   -0.69%   -7.22%
 =       forint    =>             0        0           
 EURPLN  Polish    <EURPLN   4.5557   4.5378   -0.39%   -6.57%
 =       zloty     =>                                  
 EURRON  Romanian  <EURRON   4.8450   4.8558   +0.22%   -1.17%
 =       leu       =>                                  
 EURHRK  Croatian  <EURHRK   7.6110   7.6023   -0.11%   -2.18%
 =       kuna      =>                                  
 EURRSD  Serbian   <EURRSD  117.580  117.580   +0.00%   -0.01%
 =       dinar     =>             0        0           
         Note:     calcula                    1800            
         daily     ted                        CET      
         change    from                                
                                                              
                            Latest   Previou  Daily    Change
                                     s                 
                                     close    change   in 2020
 .PX     Prague              715.05  690.370   +3.57%  -35.91%
                                           0           
 .BUX    Budapest           29485.3  29464.2   +0.07%  -36.02%
                                  0        8           
 .WIG20  Warsaw    <.WIG20  1436.47  1401.29   +2.51%  -33.19%
                   >                                   
 .BETI   Buchares           7270.39  7292.72   -0.31%  -27.13%
         t                                             
 .SBITO  Ljubljan  <.SBITO   704.46   724.81   -2.81%  -23.91%
 P       a         P>                                  
 .CRBEX  Zagreb    <.CRBEX  1369.76  1387.90   -1.31%  -32.10%
                   >                                   
 .BELEX  Belgrade  <.BELEX   620.73   652.51   -4.87%  -22.57%
 15                15>                                 
 .SOFIX  Sofia     <.SOFIX   416.84   416.39   +0.11%  -26.63%
                   >                                   
                                                              
                            Yield    Yield    Spread   Daily
                            (bid)    change   vs Bund  change
                                                       in
         Czech                                         spread
         Republic                                      
 CZ2YT=    2-year  <CZ2YT=   1.5140   0.1170   +221bp    +6bps
 RR                RR>                              s  
 CZ5YT=    5-year  <CZ5YT=   1.8150   0.2140   +227bp   +18bps
 RR                RR>                              s  
 CZ10YT            <CZ10YT   1.7350   0.0000   +195bp    -2bps
 =RR     10-year   =RR>                             s  
         Poland                                               
 PL2YT=    2-year  <PL2YT=   1.4470   0.2710   +214bp   +21bps
 RR                RR>                              s  
 PL5YT=    5-year  <PL5YT=   1.7490   0.0120   +221bp    -3bps
 RR                RR>                              s  
 PL10YT            <PL10YT   2.2090   0.2270   +242bp   +21bps
 =RR     10-year   =RR>                             s  
                   FORWARD                                    
                            3x6      6x9      9x12     3M
                                                       interba
                                                       nk
         Czech     <CZKFRA     0.82     0.43     0.41     1.80
         Rep       ><PRIBO                             
                   R=>                                 
         Hungary   <HUFFRA     0.61     0.63     0.63     0.61
                   ><BUBOR                             
                   =>                                  
         Poland    <PLNFRA     0.86     0.79     0.72     1.22
                   ><WIBOR                             
                   =>                                  
         Note: FRA quotes                                     
         are for ask                                   
         prices                                        
         ********************************************         
         ******************                            
                                                              
 
 (Reporting by Jason Hovet in Prague, Radu Marinas in Bucharest,
Anita Komuves in Budapest and Alan Charlish in Warsaw; Editing
by Alex Richardson, William Maclean)
  
 
 
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