With a restrained grin, Mihaly Varga, Hungary’s economy minister, pressed the button to open trading at the Budapest Stock Exchange (BSE) on Friday – simultaneously inaugurating the Xetra trading system for the first time in the Hungarian capital. Continue reading »
Poland has the EU’s best growth record in the last five years, but there is a growing awareness that keeping growth high is going to be increasingly difficult in the future – which is why two recent reports on corruption and educational achievements make such good news. Continue reading »
Hungary has been pumping out the positive spin on economic news for over a year now.
Back then it was surely premature, but with inflation and the base rate at record lows and economic growth finally appearing – some independent analysts forecasting around 1 per cent expansion this year – there is some evidence to support claims of success.
So Tuesday’s news from Transparency International (TI) that Hungary’s ranking in its annual Corruptions Perceptions Index (CPI) is virtually unchanged from last year would appear, if not good news, at least to avoid any further bad headlines about sliding down a slippery slope. After all, the country dropped just one place, to 47 out of 177 countries examined, with 54 points on a scale of 100, also just one less than 2012.
Not so fast, warns Jozsef Peter Martin, TI executive director in Budapest. Continue reading »
Central European manufacturing continues to show signs of strength in new purchasing managers index reports released on Monday, indicating that the region is rebounding from the slowdown it experienced late last year and in the first half of this year.
In Poland, the largest CEE economy, manufacturing came in at its strongest level in more than two years. The PMI index, where anything above 50 indicates expansion, was 54.4 in November, up from 53.4 in October. Continue reading »
While winemakers in a number of western Europe appellations – most particular Bordeaux – are complaining of poor grape harvests this year, vineyards in Hungary’s Tokaj hills – famous for their sweet dessert ‘aszu’ wines – have enjoyed one of the best ever seasons.
Despite an unusually cold September and some light frosts in early October, the remainder of the month, into early November brought clear, cold nights, misty mornings and clear, warm sunny days – ideal conditions for nuturing the so-called “noble rot” needed to turn the grape into an ‘aszu’ berry needed for what Louis XIV of France reputedly declared to be “The Wine of Kings and the King of Wines”. Continue reading »
As expected by the markets, Hungary’s central bank cut the base rate from 3.4 per cent to 3.2 per cent on Tuesday – the sixteenth consecutive monthly cut since the process began in August 2012.
The Hungarian forint depreciated slightly on the news, climbing a fraction to 298.48 to the euro in afternoon trading. Continue reading »
If Hungarian bankers – already facing another year of heavy losses – thought things could not get worse, they just have.
Only days after Karl Sevelda, chief executive of Raiffeisen Bank International, more than hinted he was prepared to withdraw from some central European countries, including Hungary, due to the unfavorable business climate, the competition office in Budapest on Wednesday announced fines on 11 commercial banks totaling Ft 9.5bn (€32m). Continue reading »
Maybe it’s time to start preparing for a return wave of CEE migrants from western Europe, as Thursday’s flash GDP third quarter numbers show that most of the region’s economies are experiencing a sharp recovery – in contrast to stagnation in the eurozone.
While the eurozone stumbled to an anaemic 0.1 per cent growth for the quarter, Poland posted a higher-than-consensus expansion of 1.9 per cent, up from only 0.8 per cent in the second quarter.
Continue reading »
By Tim Gosling of bne
Croatian Economy Minister Ivan Vrdoljak has reiterated his government’s desire to buy out Hungary’s Mol Group from local oil and gas firm Ina Group earlier this week – but is this just more rhetoric as the two sides looks to gain the upper hand in talks over operational control of the Croatian company? How long can the protracted battle drag on for? Continue reading »
A mixed picture for the prospects of an economic recovery emerging Europe, according to Monday’s forecast from the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
The EBRD found that the more advanced countries of central Europe will probably do a bit better than expected next year, while the rest of the post-communist region is sputtering. Continue reading »
By Gordon Bajnai, former prime minister of Hungary
In a recent radio interview Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, made a surprising confession. While speculating about the nature of the Hungarian electorate, he stated: “Hope is more important to Hungarian voters than fact.”
As he runs for re-election soon, is this his moment of truth? Is the one-time liberal, anti-communist dissident admitting that he is hoping that voters will decide based on hopes, rather than facts? Because the facts – most especially the economic facts – of the past three and a half years are not on Orban’s side. Continue reading »
Hungary’s central bank once again cut the base rate on Tuesday – for the fifteenth consecutive month – trimming 20 basis points off the previous figure to bring the key rate down to another record low of 3.40 per cent.
That means Hungary has, slice by slice, capitalised on its improving inflation figures and the benign global climate to more than halve the base rate from August last year, when it stood at 7.00 per cent. Continue reading »
Mol, the Hungarian oil and gas group, offered what appears to be an olive branch to Croatia on Thursday in the ongoing row over the control of Ina, the Zagreb-based refiner in which Mol owns just short of 50 per cent. Continue reading »
A lot of recent numbers indicate that central Europe’s economies have turned the corner and are starting to rebound after a slump late last year and in the first months of 2013.
More data buttressing that case came in over the last few days. In Poland, new car registrations in September were up by 16.5 per cent at 24,963 cars – that’s 13 per cent higher than in August. Continue reading »
Central European economies are continuing to show signs to recovery, with the newest purchasing manager index reports released Tuesday surprising on the upside despite slightly worse numbers from Germany – the region’s largest export market.
In Poland, the largest CEE economy, PMIs jumped to 53.1 where anything above 50 marks an economic expansion. That is the highest level in two and a half years and was due largely to improvements in the employment picture. Continue reading »