Polish Zloty, Hungarian Forint as Brexit Proxies

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 6/10/2016 12:31:00 PM
Praises be to the zloty? Its foreign exchange shows no imminent '"Brexit."
What do the currencies of former Soviet bloc countries have to do with a UK referendum on whether to stay in the EU? After all, even if Poland and Hungary opt for using the euro in the future, doesn't the UK still have its own currency? Bloomberg, however, proposes the currencies of these countries as a proxy for whether the UK will stay in the EU. And, based on current exchange rates for the zloty and forint, it looks like the UK will indeed stay:
Investors betting on Brexit may want to keep an eye on eastern European currencies, because Poland and Hungary stand to lose a bulwark of financial and political support from a British departure from the European Union. And by that measure, it looks like Britain will vote to stay in the 28-nation bloc in the June 23 referendum. Poland’s zloty and Hungary’s forint were among the top gainers of emerging currencies against the euro in the past week, even after three surveys published on Monday showed Britons favor an exit.
The logic is that, in the EU budget, the UK pumps in a lot of the money going to these newer EU member countries. Without that financial lifeline, well, the prospects of Poland and Hungary are rather diminished. Therefore, if expectations are that the UK will leave, then the currencies of those countries will take it on the chin. That simply isn't happening, however:
The calm in the currencies of post-communist bloc countries could quickly turn to turmoil because a British departure from the EU would throw into jeopardy its contribution to an EU budget that has supported the economies of Poland, Hungary, Romania and Czech Republic. Britain was the third-largest contributor to the EU budget in 2015 with a net contribution of 10.9 billion euros ($12.4 billion) and Poland is scheduled to be the biggest recipient among the bloc’s 28 members through 2020.

“Currencies and bonds of eurozone periphery countries rather than the U.K. would be most at risk after a potential Brexit,” said Peter Duronelly, strategist and money manager at Aegon’s fund unit in Budapest, which oversees 2.5 billion euros of assets.

The U.K.’s support for eastern EU countries dates back to before the bloc expanded in 2004, when the British government was the flag bearer for taking in the countries that were once behind the Iron Curtain. Those alliances have continued, with the U.K. often supporting eastern nations in the face of euro area dominance in EU decision-making, and providing a counter-balance to the attempts of western European governments that want to knit the bloc more closely together. 
It's food for thought, certainly. That the pound would be less affected by the UK leaving the EU than those of Poland and Hungary is certainly interesting if unexpected.