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Hungarian industrial output falls 19.6% in March

Hungary's twelve-month industrial output fell a workday-adjusted 19.6% in March, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a second reading.

The figure is unchanged from the preliminary figure and shows the decline slowing from a 25.2% drop in February.

Workday-adjusted industrial output has fallen every month since June 2008, but the decline slowed in March - partly due to a low base - from more than 20% in January and February. Industrial sales and orders also dropped at a slower rate in March than in previous months, suggesting the sector may have turned around.

In a month-on-month comparison, industrial output rose 4.3% in March, according to workday- and seasonally-adjusted figures, also unchanged from the preliminary figure. The rise followed a 4.4% drop in February and a 2.9% increase in January.

Unadjusted figures show twelve-month industrial output dropped 15.6% in March, slowing from a 28.9% fall in February. Part of the slowdown could be attributed to fewer workdays in the base period: the Easter holiday fell in March in 2008 and in April in 2009. First-quarter industrial output fell an unadjusted 22.3% from the same period a year earlier.

Twelve-month workday-adjusted domestic sales fell 10.4% in March, about the same as in February, while export sales dropped 22.4%, the smallest contraction since December.

Unadjusted figures show domestic sales fell 6.9% yr/yr both in March and the first quarter. The drop was sharper in the manufacturing industry, where sales fell 8% in March and 14.5% in Q1 as orders from exporting companies slipped along with retail demand.

In a month-on-month comparison, domestic sales fell an adjusted 1.7%, less than the 5.2% decline in February. Except for a 9.6% increase in January, domestic sales have fallen more than 4% each month since October.

Twelve-month export sales fell an unadjusted 18.2% in March, the smallest drop since December. March exports of IT, electronic and optical products, which account for nearly one-third of manufactured exports, fell 12.4%, level with the fall in output. The contraction slowed from 22.8% in February. Vehicle exports, which account for about one-fourth of manufactured exports slid 26.2% in March, well under the 49.1% fall in February. Q1 export sales were down 26.2% yr/yr.

Twelve-month manufacturing industry output fell 16.7% in March, the smallest decline since December. The sector contracted the most, a marked 31.3% in February. Vehicle production, which makes up around one-fifth of manufacturing industry output, dropped 28.6% in March. Electronic equipment production fell 3.7% and pharmaceutical output fell 3.2%. Food, beverage and tobacco output rose 4.4%.

New manufacturing sector orders were down 15.3% in March from twelve months earlier, but the decline was far less than the 35.8% decrease in February. New export orders dropped 15.4% in March, after slipping 37.0% in February, and domestic orders were down 14.7%, after dropping 28.1% in February.

Total order stock was down 19% in March from twelve months earlier, nearly level with the 19.1% drop in February. Export orders slid 22.2%, slightly more than the 21.8% fall in February. Domestic orders rose 7.4% in March after a 4.8% increase in February. (MTI – Econews)