OTP Bank Nyrt., Hungary’s largest lender, recorded its biggest weekly gain in six months after an economy ministry official said the nation will consult banks on its plan to phase out foreign-currency mortgages.
The shares rose as much as 2.4 percent and closed little changed at 4,538 forint in Budapest, bringing their advance this week to 8.1 percent, the largest increase for the period since Jan. 18. The BUX index fell for the first time in four days, down 0.9 percent, paring its weekly gain to 1.2 percent.
The process to remove foreign-currency loans will probably take years, Gabor Orban, a state secretary at the ministry, said in an interview with Bloomberg News late yesterday. OTP slumped 17 percent last week as the Justice Ministry said the cabinet is looking at the possibility of modifying the terms of the mortgages and as Chief Executive Officer Sandor Csanyi sold shares.
“As the market expected the worst-case scenario with regard to OTP, there may be an appreciation in the stock,” Akos Kuti, Budapest-based head of research at broker Equilor Befektetesi Zrt., said in an e-mailed note to investors today. “As long as the uncertainty persists, the volatility may remain.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who faces elections next year, wants to help borrowers of mostly Swiss-franc home loans whose payments soared as the forint weakened during the credit crisis. Measures already introduced since 2011, including fixing exchange rates at below-market levels, allowing early repayments and setting up a state aid fund, have weighed on the profitability of banks.
“We will leave time so that everyone can say there view and so that we can discuss possible instruments,” Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said in an interview with news website Portfolio.hu.
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