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Trade surplus up in January as exports outstrip imports

In euro terms, exports increased by 10% and imports by 9.3% in January 2018 compared to the same month of the previous year. The trade surplus was up by EUR 113 million compared to January 2017, according to a first estimate of data on the external trade in goods, published Friday by the Central Statistical Office (KSH).

In value terms, exports rose to EUR 8.461 billion in January 2018, while imports totaled EUR 7.785 bln.

About 80% of exports and 74% of imports were traded with other European Union member states.

Analyst Gergely Suppan of TakarékBank told state news wire MTI that the import-boosting effects of robust domestic demand, growing consumption and dynamically growing investments were probably offset in January by positive European business trends and the installation of new export capacities.

This year, Suppan added, the trade surplus could fall by around EUR 200 mln to EUR 7.88 bln, down from last yearʼs EUR 8.082 bln.

Orsolya Nyeste of Erste Bank said a positive outlook on the countryʼs main export markets supports export growth and at the same time consumption and investments are also expected to continue recovering. Therefore, Erste Bankʼs analysts expect import growth to exceed export growth again in the coming months and believe that the phenomenon in January, whereby exports grew faster than imports, was a temporary situation.

The KSH will publish a second estimate of January data on the external trade in goods on March 29.