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Stormy Weather Ahead in Eastern Europe

Tuesday, 20 Nov 2012 | 1:03 PM ET
Allan Baxter | Digital Vision | Getty Images

The chilly weather landed long ago in Eastern Europe, and the currencies there will soon start to feel it.

So says Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo Bank.

"In the near-term, the Hungarian forint, Czech koruna and Polish zloty will likely all be negatively affected by increased market uncertainty surrounding U.S. and European events," he wrote in a note to clients. "Over the longer-term, a subpar economic performance in both emerging Europe and the Eurozone suggests these currencies will continue to underperform."

Of the three currencies, Bennenbroek is most concerned about the forint. Hungary is already in recession, he says, and with most of the country's exports headed for the ailing euro zone, it's unclear when economic conditions will improve.

"Given this backdrop, substantial monetary easing seems likely from the National Bank of Hungary during the next several months," he says.

On top of economic factors, Bennenbroek says the forint is especially sensitive to larger market events. For every 10 percent increase or decrease in global stock markets, the forint moves 8.9% against the dollar, he says.

Bennenbroek thinks the euro could reach 295.00 against the forint and the dollar could reach 241.75 in the next twelve months.

The Czech economy is in better shape, Bennenbroek says, but "the cyclical economic backdrop is far less encouraging however." Similarly, the Polish economy is still performing well, "but relative to recent trends the economy has slowed noticeably."

Bennenbroek suggests that companies with exposure to these countries hedge their positions. As for the rest of you, well, forewarned is forearmed.

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