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Hungary monthly trade surplus likely to narrow - analysts

Hungary's monthly trade surpluses are likely to narrow after reaching a record in January-February, but the country could still finish the year with a surplus €2 billion over that in 2010, analysts told MTI on Wednesday after the Central Statistical Office (KSH) published a second reading of February trade data.

Hungary had a trade surplus of €831 million in February, up from €400.8 million in January, KSH said in the morning. The surplus was revised up from €816.4 million in the first reading published on April 8.

CIB Bank's György Barta said the preliminary data for February were well over market expectations so the upward revision was not such a surprise. Export and import growth were both in the double digits but exports still remain the engine of growth, he added.

Export growth is likely to be smaller in the coming months as the economic expansion in Hungary's biggest export markets slows, he said. Barta put the trade surplus for the full year at €7.1 billion, well over the €5.15 billion surplus in 2010.

Gergely Tóth of Buda-Cash Brókerház said exports were behind the bigger-than-expected trade surplus in January and February. Export growth was supported by the machinery and vehicle segment, which includes telecommunications equipment and other consumer electronics, he said. The surplus was also helped by a more than 40% fall in gas imports, as demand was met with domestic reserves in February, and by a rise in global grain prices which lifted Hungarian farm exports, he added.