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Hungary trade surplus lower than expected

Hungary had a EUR 322 million trade surplus in July, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a first reading of data today. Analysts expect the figures to be better in September.

The surplus was down EUR 359 mln from the same month a year earlier. Exports rose 5.2% year-on-year to EUR 7.604 billion. Imports were up 11.3% at EUR 7.282 bln. About 79% of exports and 78% of imports were traded with European Union member states.

The trade surplus reached EUR 5.153 bln for January-July, down EUR 964 mln from the same period a year earlier. Exports were up 9.2% at EUR 58.595 bln and imports rose 12.4% to EUR 53.441 bln. KSH will publish a second reading of the July data on October 2.

Erste Bank chief analyst Gergely Ürmössy told national news agency MTI that the trade surplus was lower than expected in July because of the stagnating performance of the automotive industry. Foreign trade trends could return to normal in September. The foreign trade surplus for the year could be around EUR 9-9.5 bln, compared to last yearʼs EUR 9.725 bln, he added.

Takarekbank analyst Gergely Suppán said export was influenced by weaker than expected industrial output while imports rose on higher domestic demand. As oil prices are lower than expected, they do not impact the terms of trade as negatively as was forecast. In 2017, the foreign trade surplus could fall to EUR 8.7 bln from EUR 9.725 bln, he estimated.