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€375m December surplus raises Hungary 2009 trade surplus to €4.57 billion

Hungary had a €375 million trade surplus in December, smaller than the €410 million surplus in November, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a first reading published on Tuesday. Exports rose for the first time since September 2008, and import contraction slowed further, both from a low base.

Hungary had a €4.57 billion trade surplus in 2009 according to preliminary figures, as against a €319m deficit recorded in 2008.

The preliminary December surplus compares to a €82 million deficit in December 2008.

December exports rose 8.8% yr/yr to €4.881 billion and December imports were down 1.3% from the same month of 2008 to €4.506 billion. In November 2009, export dropped 3.3% yr/yr and imports fell 9.0%.

Exports started to rise and import fall slowed further in December at least partly on base effects as a contraction which started on the impact of the economic crisis in November 2008 extended into a double-digit decline (with both exports and imports dropping 15% yr/yr) in December 2008.

In euro terms the value of both exports and imports fell compared to November in the first month-on-month contractions seen since August, the preliminary figures show. December exports fell €895 million and imports fell by €865 million compared to November. The drop, however, could be seasonal as December has traditionally been a month with dropping exports and imports value.

For the full year of 2009 exports fell 18.7% in euro terms yr/yr to €59.694 billion and imports were down 25.2% at €55.124 billion. In 2008, exports rose 6.3% in euro terms and imports rose 6.6%. In euro terms, Hungary's exports rose by double-digit rates between 2004 and 2007 and imports rose at double-digit rates in 2006-2007.

In December the European Union had a 77% share in Hungary's imports and a 65% share in Hungary's exports, KSH said.

KSH will publish detailed trade figures for December and January-December 2009 on March 4. (MTI-Econews)