Monday, January 9, 2012

Ha! "Hungary's hard-pressed workforce struggles with unaffordable mortgages"

Great minds and all that.*
From The Guardian:
Budapest's maverick economic policies are undermining its currency, the forint – piling pressure on the thousands of Hungarians who are trying to pay off home loans denominated in Swiss francs or euros

The Hungarian government says it is bending over backwards to secure a vital loan of up to £17bn from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the EU, but Hungary remains in the international crossfire, sharply criticised by western governments and the European commission and suffering the indignity of a credit downgrade to junk status.

The Hungarian currency, the forint, hit record lows last week, and the crisis could cost the prime minister, Viktor Orban, or at least the economy minister, Gyorgy Matolcsy, their jobs.

The minister leading negotiations on a new loan, Tamas Fellegi, is travelling to Washington for informal talks with the IMF, which he has described as "hard"; he expects talks with the EU to be "extremely hard". From Washington, he will travel to Berlin, Paris, Vienna and Brussels....MORE
...Like most Hungarians, Toth has a big mortgage, which he was encouraged by his Austrian-owned bank to take out in Swiss francs in 2008, because interest rates in foreign currencies were much lower than in forints. There were 150 forints to the franc then; now, there are 250. As an electrician, he already works 14 hour days, six days a week, and often Sundays as well. But because of the forint's weakness, the sum he owes keeps growing, and he can already hardly pay the monthly instalments. ...
*From last Wednesday's Hungary: "A Magyar martingale":
I dropped a comment on MarketBeat's post, "Hungarian Forint Hits New Lows, as Austria Watches Nervously":

Zo, your Hungarian mortgage is denominated in euros at Austria’s Creditanstalt?* Und your income is in forints?
You can’t work enough hours to cover the debt.
Keep an eye peeled for the Jobbik party goons....
Beat 'em by three days.
Man oh mandingo,  if only we cared about anything but the money...
[what? you could do human interest stories? -ed]