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India

Luiza Ilie

Bucharest Open Books Night aims to get Romanians reading

24 Apr 2019

BUCHAREST Romanians are among the least avid readers in the European Union, but an Open Books Night to promote reading now in its seventh year has proved a big hit.

Bucharest Open Books Night aims to get Romanians reading

24 Apr 2019

BUCHAREST Romanians are among the least avid readers in the European Union, but an Open Books Night to promote reading now in its seventh year has proved a big hit.

Romanian Senate approves draft bill that could close graft cases

17 Apr 2019

BUCHAREST Romania's Senate approved changes to the criminal code on Wednesday that could shut down a number of ongoing high-level graft cases in one of the European Union's most corrupt states.

Romania's Black Sea gas projects hanging by a thread

01 Apr 2019

BUCHAREST Romania's new energy regulations risk undermining plans by companies to develop big offshore gas projects in the Black Sea, putting billions of dollars of revenue at risk and squandering a chance to challenge Russia's Gazprom in the region.

Romania's growing pains just keep coming back

27 Mar 2019

BUCHAREST/LONDON Almost every former Eastern Bloc country has suffered growing pains at some point over the last few decades. Romania's just seem to keep coming back.

CEE MARKETS-Leu jumps from six-week lows, bond yields rise at auctions

14 Mar 2019

* Leu gains; central bank may have intervened * Romanian government may alter new taxes * Hungary, Romania sell bonds at increased yields * Forint hits 10-month high, British Brexit vote watched (Adds government bond auctions in Bucharest and Budapest) By Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST, March 14 The leu rebounded on Thursday from the six-week low it reached late on Wednesday, after what market participants said may have been possible intervention by Romania's central bank. Romanian government bond yields rose to multi-week highs and the finance ministry sold five-year bonds at an average yield of 4.47 percent, up 18 basis points from a sale four weeks ago. Romanian asset prices have been jittery in the three months since the government announced new taxes on various businesses, including banks. The government is expected to work out changes to the levies by next week to prevent a downgrade of its credit rating outlook to negative from stable by Standard & Poor's. The leu gained 0.3 percent against the euro to trade at 4.768 at 0930 GMT, off Wednesday's six-week lows at 4.78. "The historically high turnover (on Wednesday) is supporting the idea of official offers coming in to protect the Romanian leu," Bucharest-based ING Bank analysts said in a note. Romania's overnight ROBOR interbank interest rate was bid at 1.41 percent, unchanged from Wednesday and still near three-month lows. The yield on the five-year benchmark Romanian bond was bid higher by 7 basis points in the secondary market at 4.32 percent. Government bond yields rose 1 to 2 basis points in the region's main markets, tracking Bunds. The Hungarian government sold 106 billion forints ($381.08 million) worth of bonds at its bi-weekly auction and top-up tender, boosting its original 65 billion forint offer. Yields rose from an auction held two weeks ago. But after the sale they retreated by about 1 basis point in the secondary market, indicating that demand remained strong. Regional currencies were mixed as investors waited for a third British parliamentary vote this week on its planned exit from the European Union, this time on whether to delay the March 29 deadline. The forint gained 0.2 percent against the euro to 314.32, setting a 10-month high amid expectations the Hungarian central bank will start to tighten policy at its meeting on March 26. Poland's zloty weakened, trading at 4.3045 versus the euro. In equities markets, the stocks OTP, the region's biggest independent lender which reported record earnings for 2018 two weeks ago, rose more than 1 percent to a record high. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1459 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6740 25.6520 -0.09% +0.13% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 314.3200 314.8500 +0.17% +2.15% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.3045 4.3005 -0.09% -0.35% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7660 4.7799 +0.29% -2.35% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4230 7.4163 -0.09% -0.18% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.0200 118.1900 +0.14% +0.24% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1068.38 1061.630 +0.64% +8.29% 0 Budapest 41038.05 40887.58 +0.37% +4.85% Warsaw 2314.16 2314.79 -0.03% +1.65% Bucharest 7844.62 7857.52 -0.16% +6.24% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 869.00 874.53 -0.63% +8.05% > Zagreb 1767.37 1767.34 +0.00% +1.06% Belgrade <.BELEX1 707.10 705.47 +0.23% -7.17% 5> Sofia 576.25 578.77 -0.44% -3.06% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.8210 0.0190 +236bps +1bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.7940 0.0070 +218bps +0bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.9110 0.0170 +184bps +1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6310 -0.0900 +217bps -10bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2280 0.0040 +261bps +0bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.8840 0.0190 +281bps +1bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.21 2.26 2.28 2.03 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.41 0.60 0.80 0.14 Poland 1.74 1.74 1.74 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* ($1 = 278.1600 forints) (Editing by Larry King)

CEE MARKETS-Leu jumps from 6-week lows, tax debate stays in focus

14 Mar 2019

* Leu firms, central bank may have intervened -dealers * Investors watch how Romanian government will alter new taxes * Currencies mixed, British Brexit vote watched closely * Polish central bank sometimes intervenes, its chief says By Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST, March 14 The leu jumped on Thursday, rebounding from 6-week lows set late in the previous session, in what market participants said was possible intervention by Romania's central bank. Romanian asset prices has been jittery in the past three months since the government announced new taxes on various business sectors including banks. The government is expected to work out changes to the levies by next week to prevent a downgrade of its credit rating outlook to negative from stable by Standard & Poor's. The leu firmed a quarter of a percent against the euro through the 4.77 psychological line, to trade at 4.768 at 0930 GMT, off Wednesday's 6-week lows at 4.78. The Romanian central bank has a track record of managing the currency in the market sometimes. One Bucharest-based dealer said the central bank was probably behind the leu's rebound. "The historically high turnover (on Wednesday) is supporting the idea of official offers coming in to protect the Romanian leu," Bucharest-based ING Bank analysts said in a note. Romania's overnight ROBOR interbank interest rate was bid at 1.41 percent, unchanged from Wednesday and still near 3-month lows. Given the uncertainty over S&P's rating, an auction of 5-year Romanian bonds on Thursday "seems to have come at the wrong time", but the government could sell the full amount if it allows some rise in the yield, the ING note added. The yield on the 5-year benchmark Romanian bond was bid higher by 8 basis points in the secondary market to 4.33 percent. Hungarian yields rose 2-3 basis points ahead of the government's auction on Thursday as the market digests a rise in the sale at the bi-weekly auctions to above 100 billion forints ($359.69 million), one trader said. Regional currencies were mixed as investors were looking at the impact of the third British parliamentary vote this week concerning its planned exit from the European Union, this time on whether to delay the March 29 deadline. The forint firmed slightly, trading near Wednesday's 10-month highs amid expectations that the Hungarian central bank will start to tighten policy at its meeting on March 26. Poland's zloty eased a touch, but remained stuck at the 4.3 psychological line versus the euro. Polish central bank governor Adam Glapinski said the bank has sometimes intervened in the foreign exchange market but these interventions have been limited. DM TMS Brokers analyst Konrad Bialas said the stability of Poland's economy and monetary policy had kept the zloty very stable in the past months, rather than interventions. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1030 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6670 25.6520 -0.06% +0.16% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 314.5000 314.8500 +0.11% +2.09% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.3020 4.3005 -0.03% -0.29% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7680 4.7799 +0.25% -2.39% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4195 7.4163 -0.04% -0.13% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.0500 118.1900 +0.12% +0.21% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1069.57 1061.630 +0.75% +8.41% 0 Budapest 41120.43 40887.58 +0.57% +5.06% Warsaw 2322.01 2314.79 +0.31% +1.99% Bucharest 7885.83 7857.52 +0.36% +6.80% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 872.67 874.53 -0.21% +8.51% > Zagreb 1769.51 1767.34 +0.12% +1.18% Belgrade <.BELEX1 700.17 705.47 -0.75% -8.08% 5> Sofia 578.91 578.77 +0.02% -2.62% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.8740 0.0730 +241bps +6bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.7910 0.0050 +217bps -1bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.9050 0.0120 +183bps +0bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6360 -0.0850 +217bps -10bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2360 0.0120 +261bps +0bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.8900 0.0250 +281bps +1bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.21 2.26 2.28 2.03 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.41 0.61 0.81 0.14 Poland 1.74 1.74 1.74 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* ($1 = 278.0200 forints) (Editing by Mark Heinrich)

CEE MARKETS-Leu plunges as Romanian CPI, trade deficit jump

12 Mar 2019

* Romania's inflation picks up more than expected in Feb * Investors await changes in Romanian taxes * Leu easing unlikely to trigger central bank action (Recasts with new comments, graphics, comparison with Poland) By Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST, March 12 The leu posted its biggest daily loss in almost two months on Tuesday after Romania reported a rise in its inflation and trade deficit, which is unlikely to trigger central bank action. The outlook is blurred by expected changes to new taxes on sectors including banks launched this year, which have knocked down Romanian asset prices and risk a credit rating outlook downgrade from Standard & Poor's. The leu, well underperforming other Central European currencies, shed a third of a percent against the euro, trading at 4.7635 at 1454 GMT. It earlier touched its weakest level in six weeks at 4.7697. It also set a 5-week low against the zloty. The Polish and Romanian central banks have the same inflation targets of 1.5-3.5 percent, but Poland's inflation has been running below the range, while Romania's own rate rose above it in February, to 3.8 percent. Romania's trade deficit, meanwhile, widened by more than 60 percent on the year in January to 1.259 billion euros ($1.42 billion), fuelled by a rise in the consumption of imported goods. The tax on bank assets has complicated monetary policy because it has been linked to interbank rates (ROBOR). "With inflationary pressures persisting, economic growth slowing, and NBR (central bank) policy flexibility on rates still limited by the bank levy level linked to ROBOR, the central bank dilemma is only getting worse," ING analysts said in a note. "The NBR is likely to accept a weaker leu and short-term inflation overshooting its target, perhaps even at the cost of its credibility, as currency vulnerabilities are on the rise." The leu could remain under pressure from an expected slowdown in economic growth, Romania's widening current account and budget deficits and political uncertainty, Commerzbank analysts said in a note. Romanian government bond yields jumped. Romanian 5-year bond yields were around 4.14 percent, up 10 basis points, while the corresponding Polish yield was steady at 2.22 percent. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1554 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6650 25.6650 +0.00% +0.16% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 315.4300 315.6500 +0.07% +1.79% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2990 4.3036 +0.11% -0.22% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7635 4.7475 -0.34% -2.30% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4180 7.4125 -0.07% -0.11% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 118.1300 118.0800 -0.04% +0.14% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1062.29 1059.680 +0.25% +7.68% 0 Budapest 40784.48 40819.55 -0.09% +4.20% Warsaw 2304.63 2300.22 +0.19% +1.23% Bucharest 7891.76 7935.54 -0.55% +6.88% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 870.21 873.24 -0.35% +8.20% > Zagreb 1766.20 1763.53 +0.15% +0.99% Belgrade <.BELEX1 698.28 695.46 +0.41% -8.32% 5> Sofia 578.23 583.73 -0.94% -2.73% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.8050 0.0290 +235bps +3bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.7910 0.0060 +218bps +1bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.8880 0.0120 +182bps +1bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6070 -0.1180 +215bps -12bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2220 -0.0110 +261bps -1bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.8830 -0.0010 +282bps +0bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.19 2.25 2.26 2.03 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.42 0.61 0.81 0.14 Poland 1.75 1.73 1.75 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* ($1 = 0.8869 euros) (Reporting by Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

CEE MARKETS-Leu hits 2-week low vs euro in CPI, trade deficit jump

12 Mar 2019

* Romania's inflation picks up more than expected in Feb * Investors await changes in Romanian taxes * Leu easing is unlikely to trigger central bank action By Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie BUDAPEST/BUCHAREST, March 12 The leu eased on Tuesday, underperforming other Central European units, after Romania reported a rise in its inflation and trade deficit, which is unlikely to trigger central bank action. A surge in wages across the fast-growing region, which is trying to catch up in living standards with Western Europe, has boosted Romania's trade deficit and consumer prices. Annual inflation has retreated from last year's levels of more than 5 percent, but the rise in February to 3.8 percent from 3.3 in January keeps it above the central bank's 1.5-3.5 percent target range. The trade deficit, fuelled by a rise in the consumption of imported goods, widened by more than 60 percent on the year in January to 1.259 billion euros. The Romanian central bank is unlikely to tighten policy as investors wait for expected changes in new taxes on banks by next week. Romanian asset prices have only partially recovered from a plunge after the new taxes in sectors including banks, aimed to finance increasing government spending, were announced in January. The leu eased 0.2 percent against the euro to 4.755, a 2-week low by 0931 GMT. The Czech crown and the forint were steady. The zloty firmed and tested 5-week highs in its cross with the Romanian currency. Erste group analysts said Romania's inflation could even rise further in March to a peak "amid the recently announced hike in the administered electricity price, higher tobacco prices and the decision by some telecom companies to adjust their prices as a result of the new tax on turnover". "However, we think that inflationary pressures will ease later in 2019 and we see good chances that inflation would re-enter inside the NBR's (central bank's) targeted band," they said in a note. The new tax on bank assets has complicated monetary policy because it has been linked to interbank rates. S&P gave two weeks to Romania on March 2 to appeal its credit rating outlook, changing its policy. A leu fall was consistent with a rise in liquidity in interbank markets where short-term interest rates fell. "Apparently it is all FX-driven again, with the NBR likely to be complacent as long as there is no meaningful upside pressure on the EUR/RON," ING analysts said in a note said. Romanian government bond yields jumped, rising more than Polish and Czech peers which tracked a 1-2 basis point increase in Bunds. Romanian 5-year bonds traded around 4.13 percent, up 9 basis points, while the corresponding Polish yield rose 2 basis points to 2.23 percent. CEE SNAPSHOT AT MARKETS 1031 CET CURRENCI ES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2019 Czech <EURCZK= 25.6600 25.6650 +0.02% +0.18% crown > Hungary <EURHUF= 315.7000 315.6500 -0.02% +1.71% forint > Polish <EURPLN= 4.2994 4.3036 +0.10% -0.23% zloty > Romanian <EURRON= 4.7550 4.7475 -0.16% -2.12% leu > Croatian <EURHRK= 7.4145 7.4125 -0.03% -0.06% kuna > Serbian <EURRSD= 117.9500 118.0800 +0.11% +0.30% dinar > Note: calculated from 1800 CET daily change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2019 Prague 1066.08 1059.680 +0.60% +8.06% 0 Budapest 40795.09 40819.55 -0.06% +4.23% Warsaw 2309.22 2300.22 +0.39% +1.43% Bucharest 7918.51 7935.54 -0.21% +7.24% Ljubljana <.SBITOP 872.94 873.24 -0.03% +8.54% > Zagreb 1767.61 1763.53 +0.23% +1.08% Belgrade <.BELEX1 695.86 695.46 +0.06% -8.64% 5> Sofia 583.54 583.73 -0.03% -1.84% BONDS Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic 2-year <CZ2YT=R 1.8880 0.1120 +242bps +10bps R> 5-year <CZ5YT=R 1.8020 0.0170 +217bps -1bps R> 10-year <CZ10YT= 1.8940 0.0170 +179bps -2bps RR> Poland 2-year <PL2YT=R 1.6140 -0.1110 +214bps -12bps R> 5-year <PL5YT=R 2.2510 0.0180 +262bps +0bps R> 10-year <PL10YT= 2.9280 0.0440 +282bps +0bps RR> FORWARD RATE AGREEMEN T 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interban k Czech Rep 2.19 2.25 2.26 2.03 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 0.42 0.62 0.81 0.14 Poland 1.74 1.74 1.74 1.72 Note: FRA are for ask prices quotes ************************************************* ************* (Reporting by Sandor Peto and Luiza Ilie; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Romanian candidate for EU prosecutor faces investigative hearing at home

14 Feb 2019

BUCHAREST Laura Codruta Kovesi, Romania's former chief anti-corruption prosecutor, said her bid to be named the European Union's public prosecutor could be damaged by a widely-criticized Romanian agency tasked with investigating magistrates.

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