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Central Europe Continues to Chase Euro

While the credit crisis has led some skeptics to presage the end of the European common currency, some in Central Europe are still eager to join it. However, their cause may have been jeopardized by the credit crisis. The economies of Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic-the three most qualified candidates to join the Euro-have been plunged into turmoil. Capital flight has wrought precipitous declines in all of their respective currencies. In light of record volatility and continued bearish sentiment, some analysts have argued that the Euro represents the key to their salvation. The only problem is that the credit crisis is scrambling their ability to meet the necessary pre-requisites to membership. Bond yields trade at an unacceptable spread to those of Euro members, inflation has yet to be tamed, budgets have shifted from surplus to deficit, and reserves are shrinking faster than they can be replenished. And yet, there are those who remain optimistic. Bloomberg News reports:

"In Poland and Hungary the crisis has increased the public support for euro adoption and I'm keeping my bet that both countries will enter ERM-2 in the second half of 2009. The more euro-skeptic Czechs may do it a year later," said [one analyst]. 

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