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Hungary macro indicators improve from low base

Several of Hungary's key macroeconomic indicators showed improvement in January and February, although much of the change was due to a low base, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in its fresh monthly summary.

Industrial output growth accelerated to 8.4% in February from 3.4% in January, compared to the same month a year earlier. However, output in February 2009 plunged 28.9%, the biggest decline of the year.

Export sales of the sector rose about 15%, but domestic sales dropped 11% in January-February.

Producer prices fell 1.7% in January-February, as domestic prices inched up 0.8%, but export prices dropped 5.4% in February and 4.1% in January, mainly because of the strengthening forint.

Falling retail turnover continued to reflect low domestic demand, although the drop in sales slowed to 4.3% in February from about 6% in January.

The continued recovery of Hungary's biggest trade partners was seen in growing exports. Export growth, in euro terms, picked up to 18% in February from 15% in January.

Hungary's consumer price index climbed to 5.9% in March from 5.7% in February, driven by higher fuel prices and tax changes.

The cash flow-based general government deficit, excluding local councils, came to HUF 609.9 billion in January-March, 69.4% of the full-year target. (MTI-Econews)