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Hungary output, turnover continues to fall in August

Preliminary data published earlier show production and turnover in Hungary continued to fall in August because of the recession and government austerity measures, the latest summary by the Central Statistics Office (KSH) shows.

Industrial output fell 23.5% on average in January-April, but the fall slowed to 20% in May-August, KSH said. Twelve-month output dropped 19.8% in August and slipped 21.9% in January-August. Export sales declined by nearly a fourth and domestic sales dropped 12.7% in January-August from the same period a year earlier. The manufacturing sector was the only segment to show growth in August, with production up by 3.3%. Manufacturing sector output grew 4.3% in January-August from the same period a year earlier.

New order volume in the industrial sector fell 22% in August from the same month a year earlier. Total order stock dropped by the same amount.

Industrial producer prices rose at an accelerated pace in a twelve-month comparison in January-March, but growth started slowing in April. PPI was 4.6% in August and 6.7% in January-August. Export sale prices jumped 9.7% in January-August as the forint weakened. Domestic sale prices inched up 2.5% in the same period, including the effect of a 0.9% drop in August.

Construction sector output fell 7.2% in August and was down 3.1% in January-August from the corresponding periods a year earlier. Building construction fell 15.7% in August and was down 13.2% in January-August, but the civil engineering segment grew 3.5% in August and was up 10.9% in January-August because of road and railway projects, and the construction of the fourth underground line in the capital. New order stock rose 12.6% in August from twelve months earlier. Total order stock was up 7.1% as building segment orders grew 1.8% and orders in the civil engineering segment were up 11.3%.

The farm sector contracted because of a high base. Farm gate prices dropped 20% in January-August, as the price of cereals plunged 37% and the price of livestock slipped 3.6%.

Retail trade fell an unadjusted 7.2% in August and was down 4.4% in January-August from the corresponding periods a year earlier.

Trade balance data shows imports fell 26% and exports dropped 20% in August. Hungary had a trade surplus of €2.8 billion in January-August.

Hungary's cash flow-based general government deficit, excluding local councils, came to HUF 1,059 billion in January-September, HUF 328 billion more than in the same period a year earlier.

The current-account deficit reached €86 million in the first half of 2009, down by a sharp €3 billion from the same period in 2008. External financing capacity - the joint balance of the capital account and the current account, calculated by the top-down method - was €629 million, compared to demand for €2.9 billion a year earlier.

Hungary's employment rate slipped 1.4 percentage points to 55.7% in June-August from the same period a year earlier. The unemployment rate rose to 10% from 7.5% during the same period.

Real wages dropped 2.1% in January-August from the same period a year earlier. Business sector wages rose 0.3%, but public sector wages were down 7.9%.

Twelve-month CPI was 4.9% in September, however, excluding tax changes, consumer prices rose just 1.1%. (MTI-ECONEWS)