Hungary’s trade balance returns to surplus in December

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Hungary’s trade balance returned to surplus in December, according to a first reading of data released Tuesday by the Central Statistical Office (KSH). shows.

Hungary has recorded trade deficits every month since July. In December, the trade balance showed a surplus of 187 million euros.

Exports increased by 19.6% per year to 10.090 billion euros, while imports increased by 21.4% to 9.903 billion.

Trade with other member states of the European Union accounted for 74% of Hungarian exports and 73% of its imports.

For the year as a whole, exports increased by 13.7% to 119.390 billion euros, while imports increased by 17.7% to 116.999 billion. The full-year trade surplus was 2.391 billion, compared to 5.618 billion in 2020.

Analysts: export growth supported by improvement in industrial production

Takarekbank analyst Gergely Suppan told MTI that export growth was supported by an improvement in industrial production. An easing of supply chain problems and the global shortage of semiconductors, as well as new production capacities, could improve the trade balance from the second half of 2022, bringing the annual surplus to 2.8-3 .0 billion euros, he added.

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Gábor Regős of pro-Fidesz Századvég said the positive December data surprised on the upside and the rise in exports and imports was also unexpected. This may be due to an easing of restrictions from the previous year, he added. The weaker-than-expected decline in vehicle production likely pushed exports higher, while the rise in consumption over Christmas likely pushed up imports, he said. December’s surplus could turn into a more sustainable positive external trade balance in the coming months, Regős said.

featured image illustration via János Mészáros/MTI

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