OTP Bank Nyrt., Hungary’s largest lender, fell the most in a month after the government said a special bank tax will be permanent, breaking a pledge to phase it out.
The shares dropped 2.8 percent to 4,000 forint by the end of trade in Budapest, the biggest plunge on a closing basis since Oct. 18. FHB Jelzalogbank Nyrt., a Hungarian mortgage lender, declined 1.1 percent to 450 forint. The benchmark BUX stock index, where OTP has a 30 percent weighting and FHB has 0.8 percent, retreated 0.4 percent.
The tax will stay “permanently,” the Economy Ministry said late Nov. 16. The levy is part of a set of measures, including higher duties on energy and utility companies, aimed at keeping the budget deficit within the European Union’s limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product.
“This latest move could force further deleveraging of Hungary’s banking sector,” Marta Czajkowska-Baldyga, a Warsaw-based analyst at KBC Groep NV, wrote in a research report today. “We expect the news to have a negative trading impact.”
Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy backtracked a month ago on a promise to halve the bank levy from 2013, pledging instead to cut it the following year at a meeting with Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Soeder.