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Hungary to Hold EU’s Highest Interest Rate on IMF Delay

Hungary’s government debt, the highest among the European Union’s eastern members, fell in the first quarter as the forint strengthened.

Debt dropped to 78.9 percent of gross domestic product at end-March from 80.6 percent at end-2011, the central bank said today in a quarterly report published on its website. Forint gains cut debt by 526 billion forint ($2.2 billion), it said.

After falling 16 percent in the second half of last year, Hungary’s currency rose 7 percent against the euro in the first three months of 2012 as investors bet the government will agree on an International Monetary Fund bailout to allay investor concern over economic policy and the budget.

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