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CEE MARKETS-Forint softens after CPI surprise

By Alan Charlish WARSAW, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The forint fell on Friday after Hungarian inflation in January came in above analysts' estimates, fuelling fears that price pressures will persist in the country and hurt growth. Inflation in Hungary is the strongest in central Europe and Hungarian interest rates are the highest in the European Union after sharp rate hikes last year, in part to shift the forint off record lows. In January headline inflation rose to 25.7% on a yearly basis from 24.5% in December, beating market expectations for a rate of 25.2%. «(There is) an even larger worry that inflation can remain high in Hungary... I think that is why the forint weakened a bit in the morning,» said Zoltan Varga, head of research at brokerage Equilor. At 1010 GMT the forint was 1.05% weaker against the euro at 390.10. Elsewhere, inflation in the Czech Republic stood at 17.5% year-on-year in January, up from 15.8% in December. Analysts in a Reuters poll had expected inflation of 17.3% last month. The Czech crown was 0.30% weaker at 23.757, after having briefly touched its strongest level since 2008 earlier in the session. The Polish zloty was 0.47% weaker at 4.773 after Central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said rates were at an appropriate level at his monthly press conference on Thursday. Glapinski said inflation in Poland should start slowing sharply after the first quarter and could fall to an annual rate of 6% by December, but it is still too early to talk about rate cuts. «Generally he is dovish... and then we look at the data from Hungary today and from Czech and inflation is higher than expected so maybe this is a cause for concern,» said a Warsaw-based currency trader. The Romanian leu was 0.32% weaker at 4.9065. Romania's central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 7% on Thursday, the first pause after a 16-month hiking cycle as it expects inflation to fall to single digits three quarters earlier than expected. CEE SNAPSHO AT MARKETS T 1110 CET CURRENC IES Latest Previous Daily Change bid close change in 2023 EURCZK= Czech <EURCZK= 23.7570 23.6850 -0.30% +1.69% crown > EURHUF= Hungary <EURHUF= 390.100 386.0000 -1.05% +2.39% forint > 0 EURPLN= Polish <EURPLN= 4.7730 4.7505 -0.47% -1.75% zloty > EURRON= Romanian <EURRON= 4.9065 4.8908 -0.32% +0.73% leu > EURHRK= Croatian <EURHRK= 7.5330 7.5365 +0.05% +0.05% kuna > EURRSD= Serbian <EURRSD= 117.240 117.3050 +0.06% dinar > 0 Note: calculated from 1800 daily CET change Latest Previous Daily Change close change in 2023 .PX Prague 1387.96 1388.770 -0.06% +15.50 0 % .BUX Budapest 45689.6 45936.46 -0.54% +4.33% 3 .WIG20 Warsaw 1864.44 1896.24 -1.68% +4.04% .BETI Bucharest 12270.2 12230.72 +0.32% +5.20% 3 .SBITOP Ljubljana <.SBITOP 1179.36 1177.98 +0.12% +12.45 > % .CRBEX Zagreb 2137.69 2138.37 -0.03% +713.5 2% .BELEX1 Belgrade <.BELEX1 871.54 872.16 -0.07% +5.69% 5 5> .SOFIX Sofia 612.27 613.40 -0.18% +1.79% Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs Bund change in Czech spread Republic CZ2YT=R 2-year <CZ2YT=R 5.6980 0.0000 +297bp -4bps R R> s CZ5YT=R 5-year <CZ5YT=R 4.9230 0.0510 +255bp +1bps R R> s CZ10YT= 10-year <CZ10YT= 4.5810 0.1510 +223bp +11bps RR RR> s Poland PL2YT=R 2-year <PL2YT=R 6.1800 0.1450 +345bp +10bps R R> s PL5YT=R 5-year <PL5YT=R 6.0360 0.1570 +366bp +12bps R R> s PL10YT= 10-year <PL10YT= 6.0800 0.1410 +373bp +10bps RR RR> s FORWARD 3x6 6x9 9x12 3M interba nk Czech Rep 7.21 7.01 6.38 7.20 <PRIBOR= > Hungary 15.06 13.27 11.94 16.09 Poland 6.95 6.80 6.43 6.94 Note: FRA are for ask quotes prices *********************************************** *************** (Reporting by Alan Charlish in Warsaw, Krisztina Than in Budapest, Jan Lopatka in Prague Editing by Susan Fenton)

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