December 30 (SeeNews) - The Romanian leu continued to lose ground versus the euro on Wednesday despite a positive regional trend, and is expected to weaken further in the short term, dealers said.
The leu ended at 4.2370/2385 per euro versus 4.2175/2200 per euro on Tuesday.
“It is possible that the central bank intervened today but this time the other way round - by selling lei and buying euro. The goal of such a move would be to recover some of the [euro] reserves used in the past months [to support the local currency],” one dealer told SeeNews.
Another goal would be to allow a slight depreciation of the leu before the country receives the next tranche of a 20-billion euro ($28.85 billion) bailout package led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the dealer said.
The IMF said earlier this month that Romania will probably receive the third tranche of the stand-by loan, coupled with the fourth, in February.
“The [IMF] money would be converted in lei and that would obviously lead to the leu’s appreciation,” the dealer said.
He added the leu could continue to lose ground in January and even hit record-low levels in case political tensions arise, related to the parliamentary approval of Romania’s 2010 budget draft.
Romania's central bank, BNR, set its reference exchange rate at 4.2296 lei per euro on Wednesday, compared to 4.2099 on Tuesday. For the U.S. dollar, the BNR set its reference exchange rate at 2.9467 lei versus Tuesday’s 2.9192 lei.
Turnover on the interbank leu deposit market rose to 2.268 billion lei on Tuesday from 1.826 billion lei on Monday. The BNR will issue Wednesday’s turnover figures on Thursday.
Interest rates on overnight leu deposits fell to 8.88%/9.38% on Wednesday from 11.12%/11.62% on Tuesday.
($ = 0.6931 euro)