CEE MARKETS-Christmas demand helps to lift zloty and forint

* Zloty, forint at strongest level vs euro this month

* Regional currencies supported by Christmas demand

* Leu eases as government spending boosts supply

* Czech crown little changed despite improved business sentiment

BUDAPEST, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Central European currencies mostly traded firmer or steady on Wednesday, buoyed by demand from millions of eastern europeans earning euros or sterling in other states and by robust economic growth in the region. Many of the workers who live abroad transfer foreign currency home around Christmas, or visit home and spend money earned abroad. The forint and the zloty traded at this month's strongest levels against the euro, gaining 0.2 percent "Christmas spending by those who visited home (from Western countries) can be enough to buoy (regional currencies), while year-end market liquidity is low," one Budapest-based currency dealer said. The leu, however, eased by 0.2 percent, touching its weakest since late November at 4.6469 versus the euro. It weakened in a thin market after the Romanian government boosted its leu spending in the last weeks of the year. The Romanian central bank also holds a one-week repo tender on Wednesday to provide banks with leu liquidity if needed. Romanian lawmakers proposed a bill on Tuesday to change the criminal code and decriminalize several graft offenses. If approved, the change would put an end to an ongoing trial of Liviu Dragnea, head of the ruling Social Democrat Party, who is accused of abuse of office. Parliament will reconvene in February to discuss the proposal. Investors have been worried by judicial reforms in Bucharest and Warsaw, which critics say damage the independence of courts, but those concerns were largely overshadowed by encouraging economic data. Markets also shrugged off the threat of EU sanctions because Hungary would be likely to veto the ultimate sanction of suspending Poland's voting rights in the bloc. In the string of robust figures from the region, the Czech Republic on Wednesday reported a rise in business confidence in December. Prague's main equities index touched its highest level in more than six years, rising by nearly 0.4 percent, mainly driven by gains for Austrian-based bank Erste. The crown held steady against the euro. Along with the zloty, the crown is one of the world's top-performing currencies this year. Both have gained about 5 percent since 2016. Expectations for Czech central bank (CNB) interest rate tightening have been the key influence on the crown in recent months. The CNB, after two increases since August, kept rates on hold last week, disappointing some holders of long crown positions, though it is expected to continue to increase interest rates next year.



Latest Previo Daily Change


bid close change in


Czech crown 25.799 25.794 -0.02% 4.68% 0 5 Hungary 311.20 311.90 +0.22 -0.76% forint 00 00 % Polish zloty 4.1904 4.1978 +0.18 5.09%


Romanian leu 4.6465 4.6393 -0.15% -2.40% Croatian 7.5340 7.5446 +0.14 0.28% kuna % Serbian 118.55 118.32 -0.19% 4.05% dinar 00 00 Note: daily calculated previo close 1800 change from us at CET


Latest Previo Daily Change


close change in


Prague 1084.7 1081.2 +0.33 +17.7 2 0 % 0% Budapest 39055. 39027. +0.07 +22.0 65 55 % 4% Warsaw 2459.6 2445.6 +0.57 +26.2 5 5 % 7% Bucharest 7777.0 7796.5 -0.25% +9.77 0 2 % Ljubljana 789.64 795.56 -0.74% +10.0


Zagreb 1827.5 1834.3 -0.37% -8.39% 3 9 Belgrade 746.66 740.70 +0.80 +4.08 % % Sofia 671.84 665.76 +0.91 +14.5 % 6%


Yield Yield Spread Daily (bid) change vs change Bund in Czech spread


2-year 0.684 -0.181 +131b -20bps


5-year 0.786 0.079 +100b +8bps


10-year 1.429 0 +102b +1bps

ps Poland

2-year 1.707 -0.009 +234b -2bps


5-year 2.62 -0.004 +283b -1bps


10-year 3.313 -0.028 +290b -2bps



interb ank

Czech Rep <PR 1.01 1.22 1.34 0


Hungary <BU 0.08 0.13 0.19 0.03


Poland <WI 1.76 1.81 1.91 1.72


Note: FRA are for ask quotes prices ******************************************************** *****

(Additional reporting by Radu Marinas in Bucharest/Bartosz Chmielewski and Marcin Goclowski in Warsaw; Editing by David Goodman)