By: The Quinnipiac University Economics Research Team, Nicholas Ciampanelli
Over 2021, while there was no single trend among exchange rates in Central and Eastern Europe, most currencies ended the year weaker relative to the Euro. These weakened currencies were the Hungarian Forint (HUF), the Polish Zloty (PLN), and the Romanian Leu (RON) while the Czech Koruna (CZK) ultimately strengthened throughout 2021.
The Czech Koruna began 2021 at an exchange rate of CZK 26.141. As evident from the smoothed time-series plot, the Koruna’s exchange rate progressively declined, thus strengthening the currency throughout the year. Despite these changes flattening between July and September, the currency continued strengthening following this brief period of stagnation. This resulted in the Koruna closing the year at an exchange rate of CZK 24.858. Given these observations, there was a net change of CZK -1.283 throughout 2021, thus strengthening the value of the Koruna in relation to the Euro by 4.9% over the year.
The Hungarian Forint ultimately weakened throughout the past year. This is evident from the currency opening at an exchange rate of HUF 361.32 and closing the year at a rate of HUF 369.19. This represented a net change of HUF 7.87 throughout the year, a 2.17% change in the value of the currency relative to the Euro. Although the Forint experienced a brief period of strengthening throughout Quarter 2 and the beginning of Quarter 3, reaching a minimum exchange rate of HUF 345.85 (not graphed with a smooth trendline), these monetary improvements were rapidly offset for the remainder of the year.
The Polish Zloty behaved similarly to the Hungarian Forint, as depicted in their respective (smoothed) time series. The Zloty to Euro began 2021 at an exchange rate of PLN 4.5475 and closed the year at a rate of PLN 4.5969. Although this is a marginal change of PLN 0.0494, it illustrates a relative weakening in the Polish Zloty by 1.09% despite early strengthening in spring.
Lastly, the Romanian Leu weakened consistently through the year. Opening the year at RON 4.8713, the Leu’s exchange rate progressively increased to close the year at RON 4.9490. Given these observations, the Leu to Euro increased by RON 0.0421, also signaling a minor decline in the strength of the currency.
To reviewing all the changes to CEE exchange rates together throughout 2021, we finally present them indexed to January 2021. The Czech Koruna experienced the most significant of these changes, given that its exchange rate fell by approximately -4.91%. The Hungarian Forint and the Polish Zloty illustrates a different story, for the percentage change of these exchange rates were relatively volatile given its several positive and negative changes. Despite this, their exchange rates ultimately increased, with the Hungarian Forint increasing by 2.18% and the Polish Zloty increasing by 1.09%. Lastly, the Romanian Leu’s exchange rate continuously increased, ultimately changing by 1.59%.