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Analysts put Q3 c/a deficit at €1.5-2 bln

  Analysts polled in Tuesday’s issue of business daily Napi Gazdaság put Hungary’s Q3 current-account deficit at €1.5-2 billion, but they see the deficit widening in Q4 and being halved in 2009 as Hungary’s economy slips into recession.

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) will publish its Q3 balance of payment report on Wednesday together with revised figures for Q1 and Q2.

Raiffeisen Bank’s Zoltán Török put the Q3 c/a deficit at €2 billion. He said the full-year deficit would reach €7.5 billion, up from HUF 6.5 billion in 2007. Török noted that the strong forint -- which traded at an average rate of 236 to the euro in Q3 -- boosted spending on imports as well as on vacations abroad, causing the deficit to widen.

Hungary ran trade deficits of €365 million and €76 million in July and August, respectively, as against trade surpluses of €58 million and €177 million in June and September, respectively, according to data from the Central Statistics Office (KSH). Török estimated Hungary’s trade surplus in services in the c/a continued to rise in Q3 from €301 million in Q2, though it fell short of the €402 million surplus in Q3 2007.

CIB Bank’s Mariann Trippon estimated the Q3 c/a deficit reached €1.5-1.6 billion and she put the full-year deficit at €7.9 billion. Looking to 2009, Ms Trippon said import growth would slow faster than export growth, causing the trade surplus to grow further from €318 million in 2007. She said Hungary’s external financing need would fall, as fiscal deficit would narrow, corporate investments would drop and household savings would rise in 2009.

Török put the 2009 trade surplus at more than €1 billion, resulting from surpluses in both goods and services. He said falling profits would cause income outflow to drop to €6 billion from and estimated €8 billion in 2008, causing the c/a deficit to narrow to €4 billion. (MTI-Eco)