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Hungary launches probe over currency slide

Hungary's central bank said Tuesday it has launched a market manipulation probe into "false rumours" it said caused a sharp slide in the national currency the forint last Wednesday. "Rumours cited by the media on January 29 that Hungary could not pay its debts on foreign currency bonds were false... and negatively affected the exchange rate", the central bank, the MNB, said in a statement. The forint fell two percent to a two-year low against the euro on January 29, and has recovered slightly since then.

Front-line emerging economies undermined by politics

The crisis hitting emerging economies is inflicting the most damage in countries already under severe political pressure at home. With many emerging currencies falling heavily, central banks are raising interest rates in defence but putting much-needed growth at risk. This spectre of sharp economic downturn piles even more pressure on embattled leaders such as Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych who face deep problems on the political as well as economic fronts. TURKEY:

Richter dismisses talk it is a takeover target for Forest

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungarian drugmaker Richter has dismissed as "entirely unrealistic" market speculation that U.S. peer Forest Laboratories Inc might consider it as a potential takeover target. "We believe that this is entirely unfounded market gossip," Richter spokeswoman Zsuzsa Beke told Reuters on Tuesday in response to a question. "We believe that Forest does not intend to make a hostile takeover, this is entirely unrealistic," she said. Forest was not immediately available for comment.

Hungary central bank cuts key interest rate to 3.0%

Hungary's central bank (MNB) cut its main interest rate Tuesday to a new record low level of 3.0 percent from 3.2 percent, in line with analyst expectations. The cut, announced on the bank's website, was the 17th in a row in an easing policy begun in August 2012 when the rate was 7.0 percent. The MNB was scheduled to explain its decision in a statement at 1400 GMT.

Hungary's top court to make sweeping ruling on FX loans

By Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina Than BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's top court confirmed for the first time on Monday that it will rule on key aspects of foreign currency loans, including whether they were ever legal, as it sets out a framework for resolving claims by borrowers. The court, called the Kuria in Hungarian, has said it will propose a standard procedure for courts handling hundreds of lawsuits brought against banks by people struggling to repay the loans, but had not previously specified the scope of its ruling.

Hungarian central bank cuts base rate to low of 4.0%

Hungary's central bank (MNB) cut its base rate to a record low of 4.00 percent on Tuesday, the 12th monthly cut in a row since last August. The 25-basis-point cut, the same as in the previous months, was however widely expected by economists to be the last in the cycle as the MNB has recently signalled increasing caution over external risks. "The (bank's rate-setting) Monetary Council has decided to lower the base interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.00 percent," the MNB said in a statement on its website.

Hungarian central bank cuts base rate to record low

Hungary's central bank cut on Tuesday its base rate by a quarter of a point to a record low of 4.25 percent, the 11th monthly cut in a row since an easing cycle began last August. "The (bank's rate-setting) Monetary Council has decided to lower the base interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.25 percent," the MNB said in a statement on its website. The cut is the fourth since Gyorgy Matolcsy -- a loyal ally of Prime Minister Viktor Orban -- was appointed central bank governor in March amid fears that government influence over monetary policy would increase.

Analysis - Only a forint fall could rein in Hungary's Orban

By Christian Lowe and Krisztina Than BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Investors do not like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's policies but unless they pull their money out, causing a run on the forint, there is little to make him change course. After a successful dollar bond issue last month he does not need an international rescue so the European Union, which says he is backsliding on democracy, and the International Monetary Fund cannot impose conditions to stop him.

Hungarian currency sinks to 9-month low

The Hungarian forint hit a nine-month low against the euro on Tuesday following remarks by Prime Minister Viktor Orban that suggested an imminent central bank interest rate cut. In late trading, the forint changed hands at 306.10 to the euro compared with a closing position on Monday of 301.96. Analysts attributed the slide to comments early on Tuesday by Orban who, speaking at a business conference in Budapest, said he would like to see lower interest rates.

Hungary's Matolcsy tipped as new cbank governor -media

* Economy Minister Matolcsy is ally of PM Orban * PM's spokesman not immediately avalailable for comment * Orban expected to announce his candidate in early March BUDAPEST, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Hungarian Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy could take over at the central bank after outgoing Governor Andras Simor's six-year term expires in March, business daily Vilaggazdasag reported on its website on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source.
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