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Hungary current account surplus drops in Q4, rises to prelim €1.43 billion in 2011

Hungary had a current account surplus of €149 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, down from an upwardly revised Q3 surplus as well as from a year earlier, the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) said in a first reading on Friday.

Calculated as a sum of quarterly figures, the 2011 current account had a surplus of €1.431 billion, up from an upwardly revised €1.187 billion in 2010. 

Seasonally-adjusted data show the Q4 surplus was €306 million in Q4, down from an upwardly revised 380m in the third quarter and the lowest quarterly surplus since Q3 2010.

Hungary's net external financing capacity – calculated as the combined surplus on the country's current and capital accounts – came to €835 million (HUF 254 billion) in Q4 last year and reached €3.584 billion in the full year of 2011, rising from an upwardly revised €2,943 billion in 2010.

Adjusted for seasonal effects, the external financing capacity was €912 million in Q4, down from €975 million in Q3, and reached 3.8% of GDP in Q4.

The seasonally-adjusted data show the surplus of goods and services came to €1.728 billion in Q4, dropping about €100 million from Q3 to the lowest quarterly figure last year, but still remained significant. The surplus on goods and services has exceeded the income account deficit in every quarter since Q3 2009, MNB said.

Net transfers from the EU have remained a key factor in external financing capacity. They reached a seasonally adjusted 994 million in Q4, the second highest after an all-time high of 1.055 billion reached in the previous quarter, the accrual-based balance of payment data, calculating the EU monies for the period when they are utilized, reveal. 

Net current EU transfers rose already a peak in Q3 and rose further to €417 million in Q4, the raw figures show. The net current transfers from the Union totaled 1.356 billion for the full year, rising €200m from 2010. 

Net capital transfers from the EU totaled €684 million in the last quarter of 2011, slightly down from Q3. These figures were surpassed only once, in the crisis-ridden Q4 2008. Net EU capital transfers reached €2.197 billion, rising just €9 million from 2010.