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Forint Snaps Two-Day Rally as Output Slump Fuels Rate Cut Bets

The forint weakened for the first time in three days as a decline in Hungarian industrial output spurred the outlook for interest rate cuts and after the World Bank cut its global growth forecast.

Hungary’s currency depreciated 0.5 percent to 295.29 per euro by 4:25 p.m. in Budapest, extending this year’s slump to 1.3 percent. Yields on government bonds due in 2023 rose four basis points, or 0.04 percentage point, to 6.28 percent.

Recession-hit Hungary’s industrial production fell 6.9 percent in November from a year earlier, matching preliminary data, the statistics office said today. Demand for riskier assets slid after the Washington-based bank yesterday projected the world economy will expand 2.4 percent this year, down from a June forecast of 3 percent. The bank also lowered projections for emerging markets led by Brazil, India and Mexico.

“The regional wave of selling caused by diminishing risk appetite has hit the forint,” Imre Kerekgyarto and Karoly Bamli, Budapest-based traders at Commerzbank AG, wrote in an e-mail today.

Four members of the Hungarian central bank’s Monetary Council voted to cut the benchmark rate by 25 basis points to a two-year low of 5.75 percent on Dec. 18, according to the meeting’s minutes published on the central bank’s website today. Central bank President Andras Simor and his two deputies supported unchanged rates -- the same voting pattern as in the four previous months.

The majority of Hungary’s central bank policy makers said there may be increased room for interest rate policy moves because of receding fiscal risks in the U.S., the euro area and Hungary, the minutes showed.

Economic growth and industrial output figures point toward “poor” prospects for 2013, supporting the argument for further rate cuts, Koon Chow and Daniel Hewitt, London-based analysts at Barclays Plc, wrote in a research report e-mailed late yesterday.

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