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Foreign trade balance improves on rising exports

The volume of Hungarian exports increased by 8% year-on-year in Q1, while imports grew 5%, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported. The foreign trade deficit was Ft 140 billion, down Ft 48 billion from Q1 2004. Export and import value between January and March totaled Ft 2,740 billion and Ft 2,880 billion, respectively, a 3% increase in exports and 1.5% rise in imports in forint terms year-on-year. In Euro terms, exports and imports increased by a respective 10% and 8%; the foreign trade gap totaled Euro 569 million, which is Euro 149 million less than a year earlier. In the meantime, the forint gained an average 7% on major currencies. The volume of exports to the European Union rose 3%. This is the combined result of a 1% decline in exports to the EU-15 and a 40% increase in exports to the new member states, which relatively weigh much less in Hungary?s foreign trade than the old member states.