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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hungary Bank Lending December 2007

Portfolio Hungary publish some interesting figures today, based on data from the Hungarian central bank. Hungarian households were saving more in December, and Hungarian bank deposits increased. The usual pre-Christmas “loan fever" failed to materialise and this may well find its subsequent reflection in the December retail sales numbers.

Revised statistics from the central bank also indicate that the volume of Swiss frank-based lending was higher last year than previously thought. According to Portfolio.hu's calculations, more than 75% of new loans taken out by households were foreign currency based last year - HUF 1,480 bn (EUR 5.9 bn), up 40% year on year (the volume of yen-based loans has not been published yet).

The volume of new mortgage loans totalled HUF 134 bn in December, unchanged from the previous month, and this volume can be attributed to a steady and stable demand for CHF-denominated loans, since foreign currency ratio remained at a steady 93% within this category. Across 2007 in its entirety domestic households took out HUF 1,420 bn worth of new mortgage loans, 30% more than a year earlier.

The reason for the popularity of the CHF loans is of course obvious, since they are much cheaper, and the total cost of housing loans (weighted by the amount of new business) came to 12.5% yr/yr at HUF-denominated and 6.5% at CHF-denominated loans. This situation, of course, effectively runs a coach and horses through the monetary tightening policy being operated over at the Hungarian central bank.

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