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Leu Retreats From 6-Week High After Romania Lowers Issuance Plan

The leu retreated from its highest level in almost six weeks after Romania cut its monthly local-debt sales plan.

The currency reversed an earlier gain after the Finance Ministry said today it plans to raise 3 billion lei ($893 million) through auctions in March, below the 3.7 billion lei target and 4 billion lei of securities sold last month. The leu, the second-best performer among European, Middle Eastern and African peers tracked by Bloomberg this year, has benefited from an announcement local Romanian debt is being added to JPMorgan & Chase & Co. and Barclays Plc’s bond indexes from March 1 and March 31, respectively, according to Societe Generale SA.

“The weaker leu move coincided with the less-than-expected issuance plan and only one bond of the three JPMorgan bonds will be reopened,” Esther Law, a London-based director of emerging-markets strategy at Societe Generale, said by e-mail today. “This may have something to with the expectation on potential inflows” in the “near term.”

The leu depreciated 0.2 percent to 4.3645 per euro by 6:23 p.m. in Bucharest, after earlier strengthening to its highest level since Jan. 21.

Romania’s October 2015, January 2016 and July 2017 bonds currently meet the criteria for index inclusion as they demonstrate the highest degree of liquidity, according to JPMorgan.

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