Hungary

The owners of a family-run cafe in Hungary's capital had planned to engage in a bold act of civil disobedience on Monday, but reconsidered after the government there issued a decree that would place the already struggling business into bankruptcy, the Associated Press reported. Before the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic, the Kucko Coffeehouse in Budapest served fine coffees from its designer Italian espresso machine and a cozy atmosphere offering pastries, sandwiches, ice cream, and breakfasts to mostly local residents.

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The world will have a smaller airline industry as a result of the coronavirus crisis with many privately funded carriers set to go under and governments throwing "good money after bad" to keep national champions afloat, Wizz Air's CEO said, Reuters reported. Worst hit will be traditional carriers relying on a hub-and-spoke network and business traffic, but Wizz expects demand for its own cheap fares and direct routes to snap back quickly once the pandemic fades, the Hungarian airline’s co-founder said.

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As negative yields engulf everything from Brazil’s state oil company to Hungarian sovereign debt to euro junk, investors are seeking refuge in high-yield bond ETFs, Bloomberg News reported. Europe-listed funds have attracted over 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) since January, more than in any full year going back to at least 2010, according to data compiled by Bloomberg Intelligence. The largest exchange-traded fund tracking the debt -- BlackRock Inc.’s 8.5 billion-euro IHYG -- took in 640 million euros in the week ended July 5, smashing a record it set just two weeks before, the data show.

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Heti Valasz, a bastion of conservative journalism in Hungary, said it was closing operations after entering bankruptcy and the resignation of its editor, a former spokesman of Prime Minister Viktor Orban who had become critical of the populist leader, Bloomberg News reported. "Valasz.hu will cease providing content today," the publisher said in a statement on its website. The magazine became the latest in a string of publications which have shut down or switched to a pro-government stance in recent years.
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Hungary's government is open to discussions of a new law on personal bankruptcy if the junior governing Christian Democrats propose it to Parliament, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Chief of Staff Janos Lazar told a press conference on Thursday, Reuters reported. Lazar added the new legislation, if passed, could affect 100,000-150,000 private borrowers who have run into trouble in the central European country.
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Hungary has room to cut its interest rates even more from 1.95%, the lowest on record, because of falling consumer prices and a recent conversion of foreign-currency loans into forints, which has reduced the vulnerability of households, a central banker said. With consumer prices falling on an annual basis for sixth months in a row and posting an annual decline of 1% in February, the central bank last week cut its main interest rate by 0.15 percentage point to 1.95%, The Wall Street Journal reported.
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Hard Lessons for Borrowers in Hungary

For many people in Central and Eastern Europe, a new experience began a quarter-century ago. Communist governments collapsed, and the wide world of private ownership, democracy and free markets opened up suddenly. It was not always a happy transition, the International New York Times reported. This month, even as Germans were celebrating the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Hungarian government was passing laws and issuing edicts aimed at helping a large proportion of the populace recover from the mistake of buying houses with loans denominated in Swiss francs.
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Hungary’s central bank is ready to use part of the country’s foreign-currency reserves to help the government rid households of their costly foreign-currency mortgages, a top central bank official said over the weekend, The Wall Street Journal Emerging Europe Real Time blog reported. While ensuring that the reduction in the country’s foreign-currency reserves were gradual, the central bank would provide the foreign currency to retail banks so they could convert foreign-currency mortgages into the local currency, said Adam Balog, a deputy governor at the National Bank of Hungary.
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Hungary's gross public debt jumped to a four-year high of 85.1% of gross domestic product at the end of June, central bank data published Monday showed, The Wall Street Journal reported. Gross public debt calculated under the European Union's Maastricht criteria was 81.7% of GDP a year earlier and 85.6% of GDP in June 2010 when the current government first gained power and the forint, the Hungarian currency, weakened significantly against core currencies amid Europe's continuing economic crisis.
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Hungary’s parliament, in its first decision in the new term, this week passed a bill to extend an eviction moratorium for foreign-currency mortgage debtors, The Wall Street Journal Emerging Europe Real Time blog reported. The moratorium, which also involves debtors who are late with their loan payback, will be in place until the government works out a solution for all households with debts in foreign currencies. The current law only affects debtors who haven’t got anywhere else to stay, but gives no value limit on properties in question.
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