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CEE MARKETS-Czech bonds firm as CNB meets, crown cap seen staying for now

    * Czech central bank not expected to remove crown cap
    * Czech 2-year bonds trade at 2-week low yields
    * Good auction seen in Hungary on loose central bank policy
    * Croatian stocks tumble on concerns over food group Agrokor

    By Sandor Peto and Jason Hovet
    BUDAPEST/PRAGUE, March 30 Czech short-term
government debt firmed on Thursday as the country's central bank
(CNB) holds its last meeting before the end of its "hard
commitment" to keep its cap on the crown's value.
    The bank has pledged to maintain the cap, which has been
keeping the crown weaker than 27 to the euro since late 2013, at
least until the end of the first quarter.
    It is not expected to change its record low interest rates
or to abandon the cap at the meeting. It is due to publish its
decisions at 1200 GMT.
    The CNB has tripled its forex reserves since 2013 to defend
the cap and speculative buying of the crown and Czech government
debt, mainly short-term papers, has surged this year.
    The yield on 2-year Czech bonds was bid at a 2-week low
-0.58 percent on Thursday, down 9 basis points.
    "I am expecting a confirmation of the end of the (central
bank's) firm commitment but a continuation of interventions for
the time being and (a message of) the possibility to stop when
the CNB sees appropriate," one Prague-based fixed income trader
said.  
    Fundamentals should strengthen the crown, but accumulated
crown buying positions worth tens of billions of euros make it
uncertain how Czech markets will behave after the cap is
removed, probably in April or May, analysts have said.
    "We would not regard the exit of the FX regime as the start
of a one-way CZK (crown) appreciation streak, but would rather
expect significant volatility possibly well into Q3 2017," said
Raiffeisen analyst Wofgang Ernst in a note.
    The crown's implied euro exchange rate was near multi-month
highs in forwards contracts.
    Elsewhere in Central Europe, Zagreb's stock index
fell as much as 4.5 percent in early trade due to a plunge of
the units of unlisted Agrokor, the biggest food producer and
retailer in the Balkans.
    The decline followed news that the Croatian government may 
propose a law on shielding the economy from troubles involving
big firms and about a possible repayment freeze deal with
Agrokor creditors.  
    In Hungary, government bond yields dropped further by a few
basis points, with 3-year bonds trading at 1.18 percent, at
2-month lows, as Thursday's bond auction in Budapest is expected
to draw strong demand.
    "The Hungarian central bank's dovish stance (after its
meeting on Tuesday) surprised many foreign investors, so this
will be a good auction," one trader said.
    The stock of Hungarian oil group MOL fell as much
as 2.5 percent after Czech electricity company CEZ 
conditionally sold its 7.5 percent stake in MOL.   
 
     
              CEE        SNAPS   AT  1052          
              MARKETS    HOT    CET           
                         CURRENCIES                
                         Lates  Previ  Daily  Chang
                         t      ous           e
                         bid    close  chang  in
                                       e      2017
 Czech crown             27.02  27.02   +0.0  -0.05
                            00     15     1%      %
 Hungary                 310.0  309.8  -0.04  -0.38
 forint                    000    750      %      %
 Polish                  4.228  4.221  -0.15  4.16%
 zloty                       0      8      %  
 Romanian                4.542  4.554   +0.2  -0.17
 leu                         8      7     6%      %
 Croatian                7.453  7.434  -0.25  1.37%
 kuna                        0      2      %  
 Serbian                 123.8  123.8   +0.0  -0.36
 dinar                     000    900     7%      %
 Note: daily  calculate  previ  close  1800        
 change       d from     ous    at     CET    
                         STOCK                     
                         S                    
                         Lates  Previ  Daily  Chang
                         t      ous           e
                                close  chang  in
                                       e      2017
 Prague                  982.6  982.7  -0.01   +6.6
                             5      1      %     2%
 Budapest                31923  32232  -0.96  -0.25
                           .74    .95      %      %
 Warsaw                  2210.  2214.  -0.16   +13.
                            82     45      %    50%
 Bucharest               7975.  7942.   +0.4   +12.
                            91     76     2%    57%
 Ljubljana               767.3  777.5  -1.31   +6.9
                             8      8      %     4%
 Zagreb                  1952.  2015.  -3.12  -2.14
                            23     12      %      %
 Belgrade     <.BELEX15  734.6  737.4  -0.38   +2.4
              >              4      7      %     1%
 Sofia                   634.5  633.3   +0.1   +8.2
                             0      4     8%     0%
                         BONDS                     
                         Yield  Yield  Sprea  Daily
                                       d      
                         (bid)  chang  vs     chang
                                e      Bund   e in
 Czech                                        sprea
 Republic                                     d
   2-year     <CZ2YT=RR  -0.57  -0.08   +016  -9bps
              >              7      6    bps  
   5-year     <CZ5YT=RR  0.138  -0.00   +052   +1bp
              >                     6    bps      s
   10-year    <CZ10YT=R   0.97  -0.01   +064  -1bps
              R>                    8    bps  
 Poland                                            
   2-year     <PL2YT=RR  2.042  0.008   +278   +1bp
              >                          bps      s
   5-year     <PL5YT=RR  2.937  -0.02   +331  -1bps
              >                     3    bps  
   10-year    <PL10YT=R  3.525  -0.01   +319   +0bp
              R>                         bps      s
              FORWARD    RATE   AGREEMENT          
                         3x6    6x9    9x12   3M
                                              inter
                                              bank
 Czech Rep            <   0.28   0.32   0.38      0
              PRIBOR=>                        
 Hungary              <   0.21   0.27   0.37    0.2
              BUBOR=>                         
 Poland               <  1.755  1.777  1.819   1.73
              WIBOR=>                         
 Note: FRA    are for                              
 quotes       ask                             
              prices                          
 
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