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Hungary’s Credit Default Swaps Rise to Highest in Five Weeks

Hungary’s cost to insure debt with credit-default swaps rose to the highest in five weeks as a dispute between U.S. political parties on the budget hurt investor appetite for riskier assets.

The contracts rose 10 basis points to 318 by 4:43 p.m. in Budapest, the highest since Oct. 11. The forint climbed 0.2 percent to 284.3 per euro, paring its loss this week to 0.3 percent, a fourth consecutive week of declines.

Hungary, the most indebted of the European Union’s eastern members, extended its recession into a third consecutive quarter as the euro region’s crisis weakened exports, the statistics office reported yesterday. The benchmark MSCI Emerging Market Index headed for its biggest weekly slide since July and European stocks dropped to a two-month low as U.S. President Barack Obama prepared to hold talks with Republican lawmakers on the country’s so-called fiscal cliff.

“International sentiment is quite gloomy,” Zoltan Arokszallasi, a Budapest-based analyst at Erste Group Bank AG, wrote in a research report today. “The American ‘fiscal cliff’ problem is remaining in investors’ focus. For that reason we’re not expecting substantial forint appreciation.”

The U.S. fiscal cliff is the collection of $607 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect at the beginning of 2013.

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