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CITIGROUP INC.

(C)
  Report
Delayed Nyse  -  04:03 2022-11-30 pm EST
48.41 USD   +1.77%
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CEE ECONOMY-Hungarian wages rise 15.3% y/y, challenging rate setters

09/23/2022 | 03:36am EST

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Hungary gross wages up 15.3% in July after 15.4% in June

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Slowing Polish wage rises possible turning point

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Double-digit wage rises hampering inflation fight

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Czech wage rises more subdued, rate stability seen

Sept 23 (Reuters) - Hungary's gross average wages grew by 15.3% in July after a 15.4% increase in June, the seventh double-digit rise in a row as hefty pay gains around central Europe throw up challenges to rate setters trying to quell inflation surges.

After sharp rate hikes since last year, central banks around the region are seeking to end policy tightening, growing wary of damaging economies too much even as inflation has yet to peak.

But hot wage growth remains a risk, raising worries over wage-price spirals - where high inflation leads to higher pay demands, which fuel further price increases.

Besides Hungary, Poland and Romania have continued to see double-digit wage growth roughly keeping pace with inflation.

In Hungary, still-high pay growth means the central bank will have to walk a fine line as it prepares to assess ending its cycle of rate rises, which have increased the base rate by over 1,100 bps to 11.75%.

The bank could consider ending its more than one-year-long rate hike cycle after next Tuesday's meeting when rates will increase again, Deputy Governor Barnabas Virag said on Thursday.

"We expect another 100bp hike from the NBH (on Tuesday) but the forward guidance may point towards a slowing pace in hikes as CPI approaches the peak in Q4 2022," Citigroup analysts said in a note.

The Hungarian release on Friday follows August data from Poland showing the first strong slowdown in wage growth this year, which some analysts said could be the first sign producers are having trouble passing on higher costs and meeting pay demands.

Oxford Economics said in a report earlier this month that pay growth in Poland and Hungary had overshot "fair" values, but was underperforming fundamentals in the Czech Republic. Fears of wage-price spirals taking hold, though, were overblown, it said.

"While we don't expect the self-reinforcing cycles of higher inflation and wage growth to persist, earnings growth is likely to remain elevated, keeping core inflation in CEE higher for longer," Oxford Economics economist Mateusz Urban said.

Persistent inflation pressure could mean interest rates staying elevated for longer, or even rising further, analysts say.

In the Czech Republic, which has the lowest unemployment in the European Union, wages have been more subdued, rising 4.4% year-on-year in the second quarter, which was a real decline of almost 10% when factoring in inflation.

That is taking pressure off the central bank as a new board seeks to continue keeping interest rates stable, after it halted a year-long cycle of hikes totalling 675 basis points last month. (Reporting by Krisztina Than in Budapest and Jason Hovet in Prague; Editing by Jan Harvey)


ę Reuters 2022
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2022 75 200 M - -
Net income 2022 14 115 M - -
Net Debt 2022 - - -
P/E ratio 2022 6,76x
Yield 2022 4,22%
Capitalization 93 763 M 93 763 M -
Capi. / Sales 2022 1,25x
Capi. / Sales 2023 1,22x
Nbr of Employees 238 000
Free-Float 62,4%
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 24
Last Close Price 48,41 $
Average target price 56,20 $
Spread / Average Target 16,1%
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Managers and Directors
Jane Nind Fraser President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Mark A. L. Mason Chief Financial Officer-Institutional Clients
John C. Dugan Chairman
Mike Whitaker Head-Operations & Technology
Mary Mcniff Chief Compliance Officer
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