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Forint Gains First Time in Three Days on Matolcsy Bank Reports

Feb. 18 (Bloomberg) -- The forint gained for the first time in three days as the government signalled Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy won’t become president of the central bank.

Hungary’s currency appreciated the most in more than a week as government spokesman Andras Giro-Szasz said Prime Minister Viktor Orban ruled out changing around ministerial posts, signalling Matolcsy won’t take over when Magyar Nemzeti Bank President Andras Simor’s term ends next month. Matolcsy will probably stay at the ministry, Napi Gazdasag reported today, citing state officials.

Matolcsy, who led the government’s self-described unorthodox policies such as pension fund nationalizations and industry tax increases, was the front-runner to succeed Simor, Nomura Holdings Plc and Standard Bank Group Ltd. said in reports on Feb. 12 after meeting with officials in Budapest.

“The government has swung from one extreme to the other so many times before and so clearly market participants want to wait for the official announcement,” Carolin Hecht, a Frankfurt-based strategist at Commerzbank AG, wrote in a research report today. Matolcsy would be the “horror candidate” for the forint, Hecht said in a note on Feb. 15.

The forint appreciated 0.5 percent to 291.21 per euro by 4:16 p.m. in Budapest. Yields on 10-year government bonds fell two basis points to 6.33 percent.

Matolcsy is poised to become central bank chief, news website Origo reported today, without saying where it got the information.

The forint tumbled as much as 3 percent after Matolcsy said in December that the bank should “bravely” use unorthodox methods to bolster the economy. Hungary’s currency rebounded after Matolcsy and the central bank’s rate-setting Monetary Council each urged caution on using “unconventional” monetary tools.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andras Gergely in Budapest at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Wojciech Moskwa at

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