Foreign currency debt – that’s the problem facing György Matolcsy, Hungary’s central banker, known for his unorthodox policies. More than half the household and company debt in Hungary is not in forints. Peter Attard Montalto, emerging markets economist at Nomura, discusses with deputy emerging markets editor Jonathan Wheatley how Hungary is tackling this and the resilience of foreign investors despite such risks.
Hugo Chavez always had a rather schizophrenic relationship with bankers. During his “Bolivarian revolution” he allowed many to make outrageous fortunes, while others ended up behind bars.
Under his successor Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s acting president, not much has changed yet, with the latest fright taking place on Thursday when a broker that housed the local operations of US-based Oppenheimer & Co was raided by intelligence agents. Continue reading »
Watching Argentina’s unofficial exchange rate is suddenly like being at an auction: on Wednesday it has risen breathlessly, hitting 8.75 pesos per dollar. Yesterday it was 8.27 pesos, Monday it was 8.08. And breaching the 8-peso barrier was a milestone in itself. What’s going on? Continue reading »
Once again, the unusual economic management of Venezuela’s socialist government seems to end up benefiting the “evil capitalists” on Wall Street more than ordinary Venezuelans themselves.
Although the introduction of a new foreign exchange mechanism next week doesn’t look like its going to go very far in solving the various problems facing Venezuela’s economy – not least shortages of foreign currency, and therefore of imported goods – it is good news for bondholders. Continue reading »
Somewhat distracted lately with the death of Hugo Chávez, Venezuela’s government is finally getting around to replacing a system it scrapped well over a month ago that allowed importers to access foreign currency.
With shortages of basic goods worsening by the day as a result and fresh elections just around the corner on April 14, it was clearly prudent to devote some attention to the issue. Continue reading »
And so it is. But, as chart of the week shows, the HUF has been a laggard among east European currencies since before Hungary and other east European states joined the European Union in 2004. This is long-term underperformance, with long-term causes. Continue reading »
The Hungarian forint plunged on Tuesday to its lowest level against the euro since last June, losing over 1 per cent to 305 forint as investors took fright at the latest round of controversial policy moves from prime minister Viktor Orbán.
They don’t like the row between Budapest and the European Union over the constitution; nor György Matolcsy, the new central bank governor; nor plans to convert small companies’ fx loans into forint, using the central bank’s reserves. Expect further pressure on the currency. Continue reading »
The management of Russia’s MICEX exchange arrived in London on Tuesday on a roadshow ahead of its IPO on Feburary 15. What they are selling is not just a stock exchange but a diversified business that is in many ways unique.
Widely seen as Russia’s leading stock exchange, MICEX is actually a unusually diversified business for an exchange, which means it has managed to earn steadily increasing profits that have been largely unaffected by the 2008 crisis, let alone the notorious volatility that plagues portfolio investors into Russian stocks. Continue reading »
Here’s a timely reminder that Argentina’s problems go far beyond its legal wrangling with its “holdout” creditors.
Wednesday saw another day of intense trading in the unofficial dollar market as Argentines fled from the peso to the US dollar. The black market, or “blue” rate, hit a record high of 7.52 pesos per dollar. That is 52 per cent more than the government’s official rate of around 4.96 pesos per dollar. Continue reading »
Although South Africa boasts some of the more sophisticated financial systems in Africa, there is still some scepticism around foreign exchange trading.
So can events like the SA Forex Expo 2012, held in Cape Town, change investors’ minds? Although market experts see the potential, the expo’s organiser admit that it needs to work on wooing cautious local traders to participate. Continue reading »
With Ukraine’s currency plunging to a three-year low of 8.27 hryvnia to the dollar, and central bank reserves dwindling, the administration of President Viktor Yanukovich has turned to hardball tactics to preserve stability.
A series of new currency market rules adopted early this week aim to force impoverished citizens and oligarch-owned exporters into coughing up their hard currency cash. Continue reading »
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