Hungary's year-on-year industrial output growth slowed to 9.2% in March from 14.6% in February, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said early Friday. In a month-on-month comparison, output dropped 3.6% in March after rising 1.1% in February.
Zoltán Árokszállási of Erste Bank said the data was probably affected by a Saturday declared a workday to make up for an extra free day before the March 15 national holiday. Industrial output growth is likely to fall into the single digits in the second half of the year judging from the worsening outlook of German companies, Hungarian businesses' most important partners, he added.
ING Bank's David Nemeth also said the Saturday workday may have affected the data. Industrial output growth will probably stay around 10% year-on-year in the coming months, but could fall to 4-5% by year-end if domestic demand and investments fail to pick up, he added.
Gergely Suppán of TakarékBank also blamed the poor showing in March on the workday Saturday as well as the unexpected fall in German industrial orders.