Romanian politics, Poland’s judiciary, coronavirus impact

Romania’s three-month old government collapsed this week, increasing the chance of early elections this year which would bring forward much-needed fiscal consolidation. That would ease investors’ concerns about the public finances, albeit at the cost of weaker growth. Meanwhile, Poland’s controversial judicial reforms pushed through this week are unlikely to have major macroeconomic implications, but disputes with the EU are likely to heat up as negotiations for the 2021-27 EU budget continue. Finally, the coronavirus outbreak in China doesn’t pose a major threat to Emerging Europe. While Central Europe could be hit by supply chain disruptions, the region would receive a boost from lower oil prices.
Liam Peach Emerging Markets Economist
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Emerging Europe Economics Weekly

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While a lot is still unknown about the Omicron variant, we don’t think it will prevent central banks from delivering further large interest rate hikes - Poland will be a case in point next week, where we expect a 75bp rate hike. The key exception is Turkey, where the departure of Finance Minister Elvan this week adds to signs that policymakers are not prepared to respond to the recent falls in the lira with an orthodox approach. The currency will remain under pressure and this week’s interventions in the FX market suggest policymakers’ tolerance of a weak lira is being tested. These interventions cannot be sustained and soft capital control may be the next port of call.

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The history books show that currency crises in other parts of the emerging world in recent decades have resulted in peak-to-trough falls in GDP of around 8% on average and pushed headline inflation up by 25%-pts from its latest trough. The latest crisis in Turkey is likely to result in a downturn that sits towards the milder end of the spectrum and, so long as the lira stabilises, the peak in inflation is likely to be in the region of 25-30% y/y in the next few months.

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Emerging Europe Data Response

Turkey Consumer Prices (Nov.)

The rise in Turkey’s headline inflation rate to 21.3% y/y in November will almost certainly be followed by further chunky increases over the coming months that take it to 25-30% as the effects of the recent currency crises continue to filter through. With no sign that President Erdogan will permit an orthodox policy response in the form of large interest rate hikes, the lira will struggle to recoup its losses and inflation will remain at these very high levels throughout much of the next six-to-nine months.

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CEE: inflation a growing risk as economies re-open

Price pressures in Central Europe are building from a broad range of sources and, while most of these are likely to be temporary, the issue is that countries were experiencing stubbornly high inflation before these pressures emerged. With output gaps set to close more quickly than in other parts of the emerging world by 2023, we think that the risks over the coming years are skewed to a prolonged period of much higher inflation and, subsequently, more aggressive monetary tightening.

2 June 2021

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Poland and Hungary Q1 outperformance to continue

The breakdown of Q1 GDP data showed that strong domestic demand supported expansions in Hungary and Poland, despite severe virus waves, whereas another fall in household spending held back Czechia’s recovery. Growth will gather steam from Q2 onwards, but we think that Poland and Hungary will emerge from the crisis more quickly than Czechia.

1 June 2021

Emerging Europe Data Response

Manufacturing PMIs (May)

The rise in the manufacturing PMIs to fresh record highs for Czechia and Poland in May was driven by output and new orders, but supply issues have continued to push up input and output prices. In contrast, Turkey’s PMI fell to a 12-month low, but should rise this month now that the lockdown has been lifted.

1 June 2021
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