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Big drops in exports, imports augur more double-digit declines in 2009

Declines in both Hungary's exports and imports in November were bigger than expected, but the data augur more double-digit drops in 2009, analysts told MTI on Friday.

Hungary's exports and imports both fell 10% in November from the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in the morning.

MKB Bank chief analyst Zsolt Kondrát told MTI that it was no surprise exports fell, considering the drop in industrial output - November output, too, fell about 10%, data published Thursday showed - but the decline was bigger than expected. Double-digit drops will be no rarity in 2009 as the economy slips into recession. Shutdowns at plants because of the gas shortage will only make the situation worse, he added.

ING's Dávid Németh said a big drop in exports should have been counted on. The fall in imports shows households are cutting back on consumption. Export and imports could fall or show minimal growth for months as the economy contracts. The high base will not help either, he added.

Growth could be seen again after half a year or three quarters, though first in imports, causing the trade balance to deteriorate, Németh said. (MTI – Econews)