By Gergely Szakacs
BUDAPEST, Sept 11 (Reuters) - The Hungarian forint EURHUF= fell 0.2% on Wednesday morning to a record low of 332 to the euro, underperforming other central European currencies.
At 0834 GMT, the forint traded at 332.1 versus the euro, extending its losses for the year to more than 3%, the worst in the region. Traders said the forint had decoupled from other central European currencies in recent days.
Economists at Erste Investment said foreign players unwinding stock market positions were probably one reason for the forint's weakness. Another was the central bank's maintaining high interbank liquidity at a Monday tender.
Although inflation rose to the central bank's 2% to 4% target range in the first half, the bank has maintained its accommodative stance after a moderate tightening move in March.
Inflation has slowed down since then, in line with the expectations of the central bank. In August, headline inflation was 3.1%, below forecasts. The next rate meeting is due on Sept. 24.
The Erste economists said a back-and-forth between Central Bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy and Finance Minister Mihaly Varga early this week also contributed to a weakening forint.
"On the whole, we do not consider any of these reasons strong enough or a major departure from previous economic policy that would justify this spectacular weakening of the forint," the analysts said. "Therefore, we think that this extent of the forint's weakness should be temporary."
The European Central Bank is widely expected to introduce monetary easing and stimulus measures on Thursday, to offset the effects of an ongoing U.S.-Sino trade war and a global economic slowdown.
One currency trader in Budapest said ECB easing may provide temporary respite to the forint, but was probably not enough in itself to reverse an easing bias in the currency.
The zloty EURPLN= was steady ahead of a Polish Monetary Policy council meeting on Wednesday, where the central bank is expected to keep its benchmark rate at a record low 1.5%.
"The global growth uncertainty and monetary easing abroad give the MPC good reasons to stick to wait-and-see approach and keep rates stable for longer," economists at Santander said in a note. "We continue to expect unchanged rates this year and next."
The leu EURRON= was steady after Romania's consumer price inflation slowed to 3.9% on the year in August from July's 4.1%, above market expectations of 3.8% and the central bank's target range.
"While inflation is still above the NBR’s target and will remain so in next months, calling for tight monetary policy, the external environment works in the opposite direction, preventing a potential hike in the policy rate due to market expectations about a loosening of the ECB’s monetary policy," analysts at BCR said in a note.
AT 1034 CET
Note: daily change
Note: FRA quotes
are for ask prices
(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs in Budapest and Luiza Ilie in Bucharest; editing by Larry King)
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