The Hungarian forint was until recently the currency everyone loved to hate as investors took fright at new management at the country’s central bank. But now it’s in turnaround mode.
"'I’ve always thought that pricing in that the central bank [with new Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy at the helm] would go and destroy its own economy was wrong,' said Bartosz Pawlowski, head of strategy for this region at BNP Paribas in London.
'I think data is improving and Hungary has recently become one of the most attractive markets to have [a position],' added Mr. Pawlowski, who recommends buying the forint against the Polish zloty. (...)
Still, some fear this hunt for so-called carry alone isn’t enough to reinforce a lengthy forint rally. Instead, they say, this is more about investors giving up on negative bets. 'People were very short [the forint] and are closing out as it’s too expensive to hold such positions for too long,' said Peter Attard Montalto of Nomura, adding: 'This is not any sort of big optimistic view of investors on Hungary.' (...)
The cabinet is working to present figures that satisfy the European Union, including a budget deficit below 3% of gross domestic product, which may appeal to investors, but last week, the EU called on Hungary in its latest Spring forecast to present further steps to meet this target in 2014.
Fundamentals have changed little, however: the economy contracted last year by 1.7% and only a very limited growth can be expected this year, despite the government’s efforts.
The central statistics office will publish first quarter gross domestic product data on Wednesday, and analysts mostly expect the economy to continue shrinking."