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Romanian Leu Falls for 3rd Day on Higher Central Bank Repo Limit

Romania’s leu weakened for a third day, still suffering from the central bank’s decision to raise a cap on the size of its weekly repurchase agreement auctions earlier this week.

The leu headed for its longest stretch of losses since Jan. 23 as the Bucharest-based Banca Nationala a Romaniei lifted the limit on Feb. 4 as demand from commercial banks hit a record high. It gained 1.3 percent this year on increased appetite for government debt, which is eligible for entry in JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc’s emerging-market bond indexes from March.

“The increase in leu liquidity has pushed the leu marginally down as expected,” OTP Bank Romania SA economists including Mihaela Neagu wrote in a note to clients today.

The leu weakened less than 0.1 percent to 4.3847 per euro by 12:49 p.m. in Bucharest.

The central bank increased the auction limit to 10 billion lei ($3.1 billion), from 9 billion lei a week earlier as demand for the currency reached 38.5 billion lei.

Romania’s Finance Ministry raised 500 million lei in one-year bills and 737 million lei in three-year bonds on Feb. 4. The leu strengthened as much as 0.3 percent on the day, before closing less than 0.1 percent weaker at 4.3726 per euro.

The decline in leu today is “despite the fact that we have seen a marginal appreciation against the euro around the auction date for government securities on Monday,” Neagu wrote in the OTP note.

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