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Hungary has €159 mln trade deficit in 2008 - second reading - extended

  Hungary had a €159 million trade deficit in 2008, up from a deficit of €119.7 million in the previous year, and against a preliminary 33 million surplus, a second reading published by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) on Tuesday shows.


Both exports and imports, in euro terms, rose 5.6% in 2008, according to the second reading. The preliminary figures showed export growth of 5.5% and import growth of 5.2%. In volume terms, 2008 exports increased 3.4% and imports rose 3.3%.

In December, Hungary had a trade deficit of €79 million, well below the €129 million surplus in the same period a year earlier. The December deficit was revised up a slight €3 million from the preliminary figure.

In euro terms, December exports fell 17.3% and imports dropped 17.9% from the same month a year earlier. The rates were practically unchanged from the preliminary report. In volume terms, December exports fell 15.5% and imports dropped 17.1%.

Hungary’s exports totaled €72.838 billion in 2008, including €4.36 billion in December. Imports reached €72.997 billion, including €4.44 billion in December.

Foreign trade volume growth slowed sharply to almost nil in Q3 following double-digit increases in Q1 and Q2. Export volume fell 8.9% year-on-year (yr/yr) in Q4 after a sluggish 0.7% rise in Q3. Import volume was down 11% yr/yr in Q4 after a 2.2% increase in Q3. In euro terms, both exports and imports were down 7.0% in Q4.

Hungary’s terms of trade worsened 1.7% in 2008 as export prices rose 0.4% in forint terms and import prices were up 2.1%. The forint firmed 1% against a basket of currencies used by Hungary’s trade partners.

The 5-6% yr/yr weakening of the forint in December affected forint-term export prices less than import prices, as export prices rose more than 2% and import prices were up 4%.

A sharp drop of mobile handset-related exports and imports was a dominant factor in the 22% yr/yr drop of exports and the 32% yr/yr fall in imports of machinery and equipment in December, KSH said. Vehicle trade dropped at a double-digit rate both in November and December, mainly reflecting falling spare parts trade.

Car exports, however, fell less than the headline figure as deliveries to the EU-15 countries were unchanged. Exports of processed goods were down 7% yr/yr in December and imports fell 6%. But exports of pharmaceuticals and rubber products continued to grow at double-digit rates.

Energy import volume was up 14% yr/yr in December while export volume fell 13%. Crude oil and oil product import volume rose as prices dropped sharply, and gas import volume fell.

Food, spirits and tobacco export volume rose a sharp 27% yr/yr in December, boosted by rising grain, grain products, vegetable and fruit exports. Imports of the product group climbed 13% after stagnating in the previous two months. Imports of meat and meat products, as well as sugar and honey helped the rise.

Export volume to the EU fell 13% yr/yr and imports from the EU fell 16% in December. Full-year export rose only 4% and imports were up 2%. Trade with the EU-15 rose 1%, in terms of both exports and imports. Exports to new EU members rose 13% and imports from the countries were up 7%.

Hungary’s trade surplus with the EU rose €916 million to €7.28 billion. Two-thirds of the surplus and more than 90% of the increase came from trade with the 12 new member states.

Export volume to non-EU countries fell 15% yr/yr in December and rose 2% for the whole year. Import volume from non-EU countries fell 20% yr/yr in December and rose 5% for the full year. An almost €1 billion rise in the deficit, to €7.44 billion, reflected mainly higher energy prices, KSH said. (MTI-Econews)