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Hungary April trade surplus revised down, trade volume drops

Hungary had a €379.4m trade surplus in April, down from €635.9 million in March and down from €424.8 million in April 2011,the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Tuesday, revising the surplus down €19 million from a first reading released on June 8. Export volume fell 2.2% from a year earlier and import volume fell 3.4% yr/yr, both dropping for the second month in a row.

In euro terms, exports fell 4.0% from twelve months earlier to €6.095 billion, dropping in euro terms now for the third consecutive month.

April imports reached €5.716 billion, dropping 3.5% in twelve months after edging down 0.4% in March.

Terms of trade worsened by 1.5% from a year earlier in April as forint-term export prices were up 8.5% but import prices rose more, by 10.1% in the period.

The trade surplus for January-April came to €2.126 billion, down €16 million from the preliminary, a down €428 million from €2.554 billion a year earlier.

Four-month exports rose 0.7% in volume, but fell a downward revised 1.6% in euro terms to €26.070 billion. Four-month imports were down 0.2% in volumes and were unchanged in euros at €23.945 billion.

Hungary's terms of trade deteriorated 2.5% in January-April from a year earlier as forint-term export prices rose 6.9% and import prices rose 9.6% in the period.

The forint weakened 10.2% to the euro and 18.3% to the US dollar in the twelve months to April, and weakened 9.5% to the euro and 15.6% to the dollar between January-April 2011 and 2012.

The slow growth of four-month export volumes reflected a sharp – overall 5.4% – volume drop of machinery and vehicle exports, with the telecom and sound recording and reproducing equipment exports, dropping since July 2011, fell by almost a third in the period. Power-generating equipment rose, in contrast, by one fifth, KSH reported. Road vehicle exports rose only moderately as did their imports.

Of the other main export items, food, beverage and tobacco export volume was up 3.8% in January-April, with grain and grain product exports – making up almost a third of all food exports – rising at double-digit rates. Live animal, meat, milk products and egg exports as well as import fell, however.

Manufactured products exports volume rose a sharp 8.7% yr/yr in January-April, with drugs and medical products rising by over 10%. Rubber products iron and steel and metal goods exports rose at double-digit rates.

Within four-month imports, machinery and vehicle import volume fell 3.9% yr/yr, manufactured goods imports rose 4.4% (although drug and medical product import volumes were somewhat down), energy imports were little changed (while prices rose 26%), and the import of food, beverage and tobacco products hardly changed.

Hungary's export to the EU hardly changed in volume terms and import volume from the EU rose 3% in the year to January-April.

Four-month export volume with countries outside the EU rose 1.8% and import volume fell 7%.