News Home » World » Hungary’s Orban says fuel price cap to be extended until after election

Around the World

Hungary’s Orban says fuel price cap to be extended until after election

Randy Mancini 3 Feb 12
Hungarian PM Orban delivers his annual speech in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gestures as he delivers his annual state of the nation speech in Budapest, Hungary, February 12, 2022. Slogan reads "Let's go forwards, not backwards!". REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

February 12, 2022

BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Hungary will extend a cap on fuel prices for another three months, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday, the latest anti-inflation measure announced by his government ahead of an April 3 election.

For the first time since he took power in a 2010 election landslide, Orban and his ruling nationalist Fidesz party will face a united front of opposition parties at the polls.

Minutes before Orban started his annual state of the nation speech on Saturday, opposition leader Peter Marki-Zay said on Facebook that the six-party alliance had gathered enough signatures to field candidates in all 106 constituencies.

Facing a surge in prices, which could push inflation to its highest level since 2008, Orban’s government put curbs on the cost of basic foods in February, extending caps already in place on the price of energy, fuel and mortgage borrowing.

“The price cap has worked, therefore we are extending this for another three months,” Orban said.

That means a rule capping retail fuel prices at 480 forints ($1.53) per litre, which had been due to expire next week, will remain in place until May 15.

Despite the price controls, Hungarian consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in almost 15 years in January and core inflation surged, leading analysts to raise forecasts and signalling the need for more interest rate hikes.

Orban has also put a limit on retail mortgage interest rates until the end of June to shield borrowers from increasing repayment costs after surging inflation prompted the central bank to hike interest rates more than previously expected.

Orban’s Fidesz party pulled two percentage points ahead of the opposition alliance in a January survey by pollster Republikon Institute published last month.

($1 = 313.99 forints)

(Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Krisztina ThanEditing by Andrew Heavens and Helen Popper)