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Hungary Jan-Feb trade surplus revises up - extended

    Hungary posted a trade surplus of €310.7 million ($413.6 million) in February, according to final data, up from a preliminary estimate of 279.2 million, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Thursday.  

The February surplus -- the first surplus after two months of deficits -- compares to a surplus of €161.5 million in the same month a year earlier.

Exports, in euro terms, fell 29.7% and imports were down 32.9% in February from the same month a year earlier.

In January, exports fell 31.2% yr/yr and imports were down 29.1%. KSH revised the February drop in imports up slightly from 32.2% in the first reading. The decline in exports was unchanged from the preliminary figure.

In volume terms, exports dropped 25.4% and imports dropped 28.4% in February, both dropping less than in euro terms, suggesting falling foreign currency prices.

The declines compare to a 28.3% fall in exports volume and a 27.3% drop in imports volume in January. Both euro- and volume-term exports and imports have dropped, in a twelve-month comparison, every month since October.

Hungary’s January-February trade surplus came to €116.6 million, up from HUF 85.1 million in the first reading. The country had a €68.2 million surplus in the same period a year earlier.

January-February exports fell 30.4% to €8.670 billion and imports slipped 31.0% to €8.553 billion. The absolute value of both exports and imports was revised slightly downward in the second reading.

Hungary’s terms of trade deteriorated slightly in January-February: forint-term export prices rose 6.0% and forint-term import prices rose 6.4% from the same period a year earlier.

In foreign currency terms, both export and import prices dropped around 7%, calculating with an average 14% devaluation as the forint weakened 12% to the euro and almost 27% against the dollar during the period.

In January-February, export volume of the machinery and automotive sector dropped 33% and import volume was down 34% from the same period a year earlier, with the biggest drops registered in the trade of vehicles and engines. The decline was less marked in February than it was in January.

The drop in exports of mobile phones was entirely the result of a drop in deliveries outside of the EU, as exports of mobile handsets to the EU rose 10%.

Exports of manufactured goods dropped 19% in volume terms in January-February from the same period a year earlier and imports were down 21%. Exports and imports of iron and steel, as well as chemical products fell more sharply than the headline figures for the sector, but pharmaceutical exports and imports were up 10% and 14%, respectively.

Energy imports dropped 28% yr/yr in volume terms in January-February, after rising 14% in December. The drop is mainly the result of the halt of Russian gas deliveries via Ukraine in January, KSH said. However, crude imports fell as well.

Export volume of food, drink and tobacco products rose 6% in January-February compared to the same period a year earlier, continuing a rise registered since September. Import volume fell 9%. The rise in exports was due in large part to a 50% rise in grain exports in February.

At the same time, grain and grain product prices fell about 24%. On the import side, imports of fruit and vegetables fell more than the headline figure, but imports of meat and meat products continued to rise from a year earlier.

Export volume to other EU countries fell 23% and imports from these countries dropped 27% in volume terms in January-February. Exports to the EU-15 fell 24% and imports were down 28%. Exports to new member states slid 21% and imports were down 20%.

Hungary’s trade surplus with the EU rose HUF 26 billion during the period as the balance with the EU-15 rose HUF 66 billion, but the balance with new member states deteriorated by HUF 40 billion.

In euro terms, the two-month surplus narrowed €51 million to €1.26 billion as it rose €162 million with old EU members to €790 million and fell €212 million with the new member states to €473 million.

Two-month exports to countries outside of the EU fell 40% in volume terms and imports were down 30% in volume terms and the deficit was unchanged in forint terms and fell €99 million in euro terms.

Hungary’s trade deficit with Asian countries fell €374 million on dropping machinery imports, and the deficit with Europe outside the EU rose €91 million due to less surplus in machinery trade. (MTI-Econews)