Global Investing

Hungary’s plan to get some cash in the bank

Hungary says it might borrow money from global bond markets before it lands a long-awaited aid deal with the International Monetary Fund. That pretty much seems to suggest Budapest has given up hope of getting the IMF cash any time soon. Given the fund has already said it won’t visit Hungary in April, that view would seem correct.

There is some logic to the plan.

Hungary desperately needs the cash — it must  find over 4 billion euros just to repay external debt this year.

It is also an attractive time to sell debt.  Appetite for emerging market debt remains strong. Emerging bond yield premiums over U.S. Treasuries have contracted sharply this year and stand near seven-month lows. Moreover, U.S. Treasury yields may rise, potentially making debt issuance more costly in coming months.

For Hungary’s government , the idea of a successful bond sale is particularly attractive as this will at a stroke  improve its bargaining position with the IMF. That’s bad news, says Tim Ash, RBS head of emerging European research:

The problem is that getting cash in the bank may actually reduce the likelihood of the government actually finally cutting a deal with the IMF, so arguably increases market risk over the slightly longer term.

Dresdner, Commerzbank — a deal nobody likes?

rtr20qy8.jpgWhen stock markets this morning traded the news that Allianz had sold Dresdner Bank to Commerzbank, shares in both companies were down, defying stock market logic. Maybe nobody likes the deal?

Dresdner Kleinwort, the anaemic investment bank that raked up billions of credit write-downs, is not the jewel in the crown Commerzbank was looking for. Commerzbank slashed its own investment bank years ago and has said it will also scale down Dresdner Kleinwort.

Allianz is pulling the plug on bancassurance, a model that some say doesn’t work — though others have succesfully executed it. But the timing seems odd: selling a bank would probably have been a lot easier 18 months ago.