Hungary’s central bank will transform its main policy facility to prod lenders to shift funds into government bonds, with the aim of cutting the country’s external debt and shedding a junk debt rating.
The forint fell for a second day and bonds rose after policy makers announced steps to reduce Hungary’s reliance on foreign financing, backing Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s attempt to improve its junk credit rating.
U.S. equity-index futures rose with European stocks as results from Apple Inc. to Facebook Inc. and Caterpillar Inc. beat analysts’ estimates and investors speculated takeovers will increase. Most commodities rose, while Russian shares fell for a fourth day.
OTP Bank Nyrt. would withstand the shock of a widening conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including a worst-case scenario in which Hungary’s largest lender were to lose its investments in the two sparring nations, Chairman Sandor Csanyi said.
Hungary’s economic-sentiment index was positive in April for the first time in almost 16 years as business confidence grew and consumers became less pessimistic after Prime Minister Viktor Orban won a second four-year term.
Russia, the world’s biggest natural gas exporter, increased pressure on Ukraine over its $2.2 billion fuel debt as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden voiced support for the smaller country to gain energy independence.