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Friday, July 04, 2008

Hungary External Trade April 2008 (Detailed)

Hungary's statistics office (KSH) this morning confirmed that Hungary had a trade surplus in April for a third consecutive month as the government austerity programme and monetary tightening at the NBH continued to damp domestic consumer demand, curbing imports.

The surplus was 64.1 million euros ($100.8 million) compared with 198.9 million euros in March and a deficit of 155.4 million euros in April last year, the Budapest-based statistics office today. The April figure was revised from a preliminary estimate of 54.2 million euros (see blow).

Hungary's trade deficit has now been shrinking for two years as exports have gathered strength while government measures to cut the budget deficit, which was previously the widest in the European Union, and higher interest rates from the NBH have crimped consumer demand for imports.

According to the revised figures, exports rose 22.8 percent in April from a year earlier, the fastest rate in nine months, while imports increased 18.1 percent (% in euro terms). Seventy-seven percent of exports went to the European Union while 68 percent of imports came from EU countries.


Hungary posted another trade surplus (EUR 54.2 million) in April, according to first estimate figures released by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) on Friday. The figure compares with a surplus of EUR 198.9 million in March and a deficit of EUR 155.4 m in April 2007. This data simply underlines the significant tutnaround which has taken place in the Hungarian external trade position over the last 12 months.

Exports in April 2008 came to a total of EUR 6,429.4 m, up by 22.8% year on year, which compares with a growth of 4.2% in March (although we need to be careful here since March was an unusual month due to the timing of easter, and March /April are better taken together). Imports were EUR 6,375.1 m, 18.2% up on April 2007. In March year on year import growth was down to 2.9%.

The January-April balance (which is a much better indicator of where we are) showed a EUR 330.6 million surplus, which compares with a deficit of EUR 307.2 m in the same period of 2007. Exports were up 15.2% (in euro values) in January-April 2008 over January-April 2007. In the same period imports were only up by 12.1% hence the improvement in the trade balance.

Hungary sent 78% of its exports to the European Union and imported 69% of its goods from the EU in April.

The gap between export and import growth rose to 4.6 percentage points in April, up from 1.3 percentage points in March.

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