Hungary's forint held steady despite another rate hike

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On 23 Aug - The Hungarian forint held steady on Monday after rallying more than 3% since a July rate hike, which the central bank is likely to follow with another 30 basis point increase at a monthly meeting on Tuesday. Analysts polled by Reuters expect the National Bank of Hungary to increase its benchmark rate to 1.5% in a third successive monthly rate hike to combat higher inflation. In the last month, the real interest rate in Hungary turned less negative than expected, something that the FX market had not necessarily predicted, economists at Commerzbank said in a note. Headline inflation slowed in July from 5.3% to an annual rate of 4.6%, surpassing market forecasts but still debilitating the bank's 2% to 4% target range. The currency has also been recently supported by weak second-quarter GDP data as well as flows in the zloty-forint trade triggered by the rate differential between Hungary and Poland, traders said. Unlike in Hungary and the Czech Republic, policymakers in Poland keep the main rate at a record-low of 0.1% since May 2020. However, as the economy recovers the numbers of analysts showing that rate hike will be possible this year. The Polish zloty edged up 0.05% to 4.5870 to the Euro. Elsewhere, the Czech crown eased 0.04% to 25.550 per euro. The currency's direction is influenced by concerns from a possible spike of pandemic in autumn, Erste Bank wrote. Stock markets in the region firmed, following European equities. Warsaw's stock gained 0.88%, Prague gaining 0.49%. Budapest's equities gained 0.69% and Bucharest firmed 1.17%.