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Export remains engine behind Hungary industrial output growth in February

Hungary's industrial output growth accelerated in February as export sales rose faster and the decline of domestic sales rose, figures released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) in a second reading show. The figures confirmed a first reading released on April 7.

Hungary's industrial output rose 14.3% year-on-year in February, according to both unadjusted and workday-adjusted figures. Output growth picked up from an unadjusted 13.4% and an adjusted 10.7% in January.

Output was up 0.9% month-on-month in February in a seasonally- and workday-adjusted comparison, slowing from a 15.3% increase in January. The January rise was largely due to a low base in December, when many Hungarians took off on a workday Saturday.

Export sales rose 18.4% year-on-year in February, the fastest rate since last August. Domestic sales dropped 2.7%, the smallest fall for five consecutive months.

Month-on-month, export sales rose 1.7% in February, slowing from an 8.0% increase in January. Domestic sales were up 4.5% after declines in the previous two months. The figures are adjusted for seasonal and workday effects.

January-February output was up 13.8% from the same period a year earlier. Export sales rose 18.5% and domestic sales fell 6.3% during the period.

In a breakdown by market segment, manufacturing sector output was up 15.5% year-on-year in February. All but one of 13 manufacturing branches expanded. Of the biggest branches, output of computer, electronics and optical products rose 27.2%, while output of vehicle manufacturing increased 13.9%. Output of the food, beverages and tobacco branch edged up 1.1% as exports rose but domestic sales dropped. Output of the machine and equipment manufacturing segment climbed 40%.

Exports of the computer, electronics and optical branch rose 24.1% and exports of the vehicle manufacturing segment were up 17.2% year-on-year. The two branches account for more than half of industrial exports.

Hungary's industrial output rose 10.5% in 2010 after dropping 11.8% in 2009. Export sales volume rose 16.4% in 2010 after a 18.8% decline in 2009. Domestic sales fell 2.9% in 2010 after a 12.5% drop in 2009.

Output per employee at businesses with a staff of at least five rose 8.2% in January-February 2011 from the same period a year earlier, as the rise in output exceeded the 5.3% rise in headcount in the period.

Output in the first two months rose in all regions, with the steepest rise, of 18.6% yr/yr, registered in North Hungary, and the least, 4.8% increase on the South Great Plain.