Hungarians keep fingers crossed for rating upgrade this week

March 5, 2018, 8:15 am  english version Hungarian version  
There is a barrage of important macroeconomic releases in the pipeline for this week, not to mention that the European Central Bank (ECB) is going to hold a policy meeting that also deserves our attention. A review of Hungary’s credit rating, the second one this year, is coming up in the second half of the week, and although an upgrade is not the base-case scenario, we can still keep our fingers crossed, right?

Let’s just say, boredom is not the word that first comes to our mind when we look at this week’s macro calendar. A host of key figures are coming out both domestically and globally that investors will be watching closely. On Monday morning, the Hungarian central bank (MNB) is set to release its regular monthly statistics about the combined balanced sheet of credit institutions, and the Central Statistical Office (KSH) is to publish retail sales stats for January. Eurostat will also have retail sales data out, so we’ll be able to compare Hungarians’ willingness to purchase with that of other nations.

On Tuesday, we’ll have the usual weekly Treasury Bill auction, as well as detailed data for Q4 2017 GDP. The economic commencement meeting of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, starting at 10 A.M., might be even more important than that, with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and MNB Governor György Matolcsy among the speakers. Also note that the PM generally uses the event to divulge his economic programme. Four years ago, for instance, he announced a ten-point programme at this very event before the election. Should you still need us to spell it out for you: Yes, this event deserves your utmost attention if you care about Hungary’s economic policy!

On Wednesday, the stats office will release industrial production data for January, and the Economy Ministry will have the preliminary data for the February general government balance out. Revised GDP figures for the European Union are also to be released in the morning, and the ADP index showing the latest employment developments in the U.S. business sector is also coming out.

The KSH is to offer some excitement also on Thursday, as it will publish the latest (February) inflation figures then. The Government Debt Management Agency (ÁKK) will also put 12-month T-bills up for auction that that. Elsewhere, all eyes will be on the ECB as it is going to hold a policy meeting in Frankfurt, to be followed by the usual press conference by ECB President Mario Draghi.

Friday may be the last day of the week, but it will be not a slow day at all. The KSH is to publish the latest foreign trade figures in Hungary; the Bank of Japan will hold a policy meeting, and we should keep an eye on the subsequent communication by the BoJ; a key statistical release is in the pipeline in Germany and the latest jobless data will be published in the United States. Hungarians, however, are likely to keep their eyes peeled for a rating review by Fitch Ratings. We should not expect an upgrade, but it is not totally out of the question, either. So, we can still keep our fingers crossed, can’t we?

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