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Dealers: Political tensions pressures the leu into depreciation. The leu exchange rate reaches the lowest level in 6 months

de Dan Popa, transl/adapt. C.B.
Marţi, 8 iunie 2010, 17:45 English | Business

The Romanian Central Bank (BNR) listed a slightly depreciated currency exchange rate for the leu against the euro, despite the fact that regional currencies (especially the Hungarian forint) corrected on Tuesday the losses suffered during the last days. A commercial bank dealer told news that the forint seems to be the regional currencies' winner; Hungarian PM Orban was holding a speech around 3 o'clock in front of the Parliament and the markets reacted positively. The leu should follow the same tendency, but the political uncertainty was dragging it down, the dealer explained.

The euro paid for 4,2180 lei on Monday and it appreciated to 4,2311 lei today. This is the highest exchange rate listed by BNR in the last six months, since December 16 2009, when one euro cost 4.2459 lei. The opening of the exchange rate on Tuesday, the leu had a high quota, near to 4.2390 lei for one euro. The national currency then appreciated constantly to 4.2165 lei/euro, only to lose the ground, reaching 4.23 lei.

The regional currencies had a similar evolution against the euro. The Polish currency initially appreciated from 4.1650 to 4.1325 zloti/euro. Then the exchange rate went up to almost its opening level. The Hungarian forint went down from 287.30 forints/euro to 283.60 and then recovered to the initial level.

As for the US dollar, BNR listed a reference course of 3.5496 lei/dollar, almost 3 bani up against yesterday. This is the highest level the leu reached against the dollar. Then the American currency depreciated initially from 1.1915 to 1.1983 dollars/euro on the international market. It recovered later up to 1.1903 dollars/euro.

On the monetary market, the short-term interest rates went slightly up, but continued to follow the monetary policy annual rate, namely 6.25% per year. BNR listed during the first part of the day an average interest rate for overnight deposits (ROBID) - 6.24% annually - up against the Monday level (6.16%). For placed overnight deposits (ROBOR), the annual interest rate went up from 6.6% to 6.7%.

"The fact that the Finance Ministry refuses to reject the receive offers seems weird, bearing in kind the increase in budget deficit. Moreover, this behaviour does not seem to suit the last statements made by the Finance minister, who said that should the fiscal measures failed to be adopted, Romania was going to become like Argentine in 2000. This statement suggest that it be adequate to build liquidity reserves, which contrasts with the fact that the Finance Ministry rejected all offers on auction worth of a total 3.6 billion lei during the last weeks. It is possible that public debt managers will try and make a comeback on short term on the monetary market, especially when we are drawing near to that time of the month when certain public payments are due. Such an operation could put pressure on short-term interest rate", ING Bank economists explain.

Interest rates due up to three months are in the area of 6-7%, having approximately 100 base points below the public debt outturn curve. To use this strategy over an extended period of time will need to refinance certain significant sums with an improved frequency.

The gold gram was listed on Tuesday, June8, at 142.5666 lei, up 5.30 lei (3.86%) against the Monday figures, namely 137.2649 lei.

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