Forint Report: Monday

The forint was trading at 304.69 to the euro late Monday on the interbank forex market, down from 303.03 late Friday and 302.92 late Sunday. At 302.90 to the euro early Monday, the forint moved between 302.80 and 304.72, a four-day low. At 301.96 Friday intraday, it hit a second nine-month high within two days.

BUX Report: Monday

The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished down 1.10% at 18,009.66 Monday after dropping 1.52% Friday. It is up 8.27% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year. Last week the BUX added 1.10% after dropping 0.40% in the previous week.

Analysis: Putin gains little from BP visit

FROM THE LATEST PRINT EDITION: Analysts in Moscow say that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants Hungary’s exit from the EU. In that sense, it would seem that, while Hungary got the cheap natural gas it was after, the Russian leader did not make much progress toward his own goals during his February 17 visit to Budapest.

Lázár seeks to review utility companies

Cabinet Chief János Lázár said on Saturday that he plans to conduct a review of how utility companies measure and bill their customers following suspicions of overcharging, Hungarian news agency MTI reported citing Lázár’s interview with commercial station HírTV.

Police expecting demonstrations in Budapest

A number of bridges in Budapest and vicinity are being secured by local police, as they are expecting impromptu demonstrations against the new vignette-based road toll system introduced in January, Hungarian online daily origo.hu reported. Official permission for the demonstration was denied, but there have been rumors of an unofficial protest.

BUSINESS

Groupama Garancia premiums revenue reached HUF 94 bln last year

French-owned Hungarian insurer Groupama Garancia Biztositó saw its revenue rise by 5% to HUF 94 bln due to premiums, raising the rank of the company to third in the market, Groupama announced today.

ECONOMY

Labor authority finds issues with 73% of the country’s employers

Hungary's labor authority found that 73% of the over 18,000 employers it surveyed last year had violated some of the labor regulations, the National Economy Ministry said today. The ministry added that the ratio was slightly higher than to the previous year’s 70%.

ECONOMY

MNB: Retail loan stock drops further in Q4

Although Hungarian banks' disbursals of retail loans rose sharply in the fourth quarter of last year, overall retail lending stock continued to fall, a lending survey by the National Bank of Hungary shows.

ECONOMY

Competition office launches procedure against UPC

The Hungarian Competition Office (GVH) today said it has launched a procedure against Luxembourg-based telecommunications and cable TV company UPC Magyarország Telekommunikációs on the suspicion that the service provider abused its monopoly position in District 29, Monor, near the capital Budapest, and its vicinity.

ECONOMY

Report: New car registrations grow y.o.y. 18%

New passenger car registrations in Hungary saw a year-on-year rise of 18%, to 5,914, in February, with light commercial vehicle registrations increasing by a y.o.y. 31% to 1,242, automotive industry information service Jato Dynamics told Hungarian news agency MTI today.

ECONOMY

Krisztina Palace receives green building rating

Krisztina Palace, the property of Union Investment, has been awarded the BREEAM In Use ‘Very Good’ rating in two categories due to its offering of high quality services, environmentally friendly operation, organized transportation connections, advanced technical background and proactive property management, Cushman and Wakefield said today in a press release.

BUSINESS

Garantiqa new guarantees worth HUF 282.1 bln in 2014

SME and local-council loan guarantor Garantiqa Hitelgarancia, which is part of the state-owned Hungarian Development Bank (MFB) Group, undertook new guarantees worth HUF 282.1 bln through 26,000 contracts in 2014, CEO Éva Buza told Hungarian news agency MTI.

POLITICS

PM schedules official meeting with U.S. ambassador

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has scheduled to meet with U.S. ambassador to Hungary Colleen Bell on March 17, Hungarian online news portal origo.hu reported.


ECONOMY

MNB: 2014 rise in corporate lending stock due to SME funding scheme

The stock of corporate loans stock rose 2.4% in 2014 in the first increase since the crisis, but the rise reflects mainly the long-term forint loans granted in the National Bank of Hungary's Funding for Growth Scheme (FGS), the MNB said in its fresh lending survey today.

BUSINESS

Government drafting changes to financial institution screening law

The Hungarian government has already begun drafting changes to the regulations to shorten the time between comprehensive reviews of financial institutions from the current five years to three years. The move is motivated by the Buda-Cash affair, Hungary’s economy minister Mihály Varga told state-owned M1 television late Friday.

BUSINESS

Lawyer: Buda-Cash investigation begun on suspected embezzlement

An investigation of an unknown perpetrator suspected of embezzling funds was launched in the case of Buda-Cash, János Bánati, the lawyer of Buda-Cash CEO Péter Tölgyesi, said in an interview with HírTV on Saturday.

ECONOMY

EC launches infringement procedure against Hungary

The European Commission has launched an infringement procedure against Hungary on charges that the country’s energy regulations fail to comply with European Union regulations, the EC's spokesperson for climate and energy policy Anna-Kais Itkonen told Hungarian news agency MTI yesterday.

ECONOMY

Hungary’s PMI rises to 54.9 in February

Hungary's seasonally-adjusted Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) saw an increase of 54.9 points in February from January’s 54.3 points, the Hungarian Association of Logistics, Purchasing and Inventory Management (Halpim), which compiles the index, said today.

BUSINESS

Kotányi signs contracts with pepper suppliers

Hungarian spice company Kotányi signed contracts with more than 100 suppliers of peppers in Mórahalom (southeastern Hungary), national news agency MTI reported late Friday. The contracts were signed as part of a program supported by the company Fűszermalom and the local council to revive pepper production in the region. 

BUSINESS

Eagle Ottawa signs contract on HUF 9 bln expansion

American automobile interior maker Eagle Ottawa and Hungarian city Szolnok Mayor Ferenc Szalay signed a contract on a HUF 9 bln expansion investment at the Hungarian base of the company in Szolnok (central Hungary), Hungarian news agency MTI reported on Friday.

ECONOMY

MNB initiates legal changes for tighter oversight controls

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) on Friday said it is initiating amendments to legislation that will make its oversight of the financial sector stricter.

ECONOMY

Hungarian credit institutions see a combined after-tax loss of HUF 446.5 bln

Hit hard by provisioning for compensation for retail clients mandated under the new FX law, Hungarian credit institutions had a combined after-tax loss of HUF 446.5 bln last year, following after-tax profit of HUF 31.2 bln in 2013, National Bank of Hungary (MNB) statistics released on Friday showed.

POLITICS

Lázár: Debate over Paks deal is unneccessary

According to Cabinet Chief János Lázár it is “entirely all the same” if the Paks deal is made confidential for 15 years or 30, Lázár told Hungarian online daily index.hu in response to a query. 

POLITICS

Paks deal could become confidential for 30 years

Certain business and technical data connected with the planned expansion of Hungary’s sole nuclear power plant in Paks could remain classified for 30 years, extending the previously announced 15 years of secrecy. 

POLITICS

PM: Hungarians 'politically incorrect by nature'

In a genuine economic breakthrough, the Hungarian economy grew last year, without that growth being mostly derived from foreign loans, for the first time in decades, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his state of the nation speech delivered at Várkert Bazár in Budapest on Friday. He also spoke out against immigration and said Hungarians are "politically incorrect by nature".

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