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Hungary trade surplus little changed from 1st reading

Hungary had a €424 million trade surplus in May 2010, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said on Friday, revising the surplus down by a slight €5 million from a 1st reading on July 9. Despite a higher base, export and import picked up both in volume and euro terms from April. Imports rose slightly faster than exports for the first time since January 2009.

The May surplus was down from €505 million trade surplus in April but up from a €424 million surplus a year earlier.

Export volume was up 18.3% y.r/yr in May after a 16.8yr/yr rise in April, and imports grew 18.9% after a 15.9% rise in April . In euro terms, May exports rose 22.9% in twelve months at €5.701 billion after a 21.7% increase in April and imports rose 25.2% yr/yr to €5.277 billion after rising 21.1% in the previous month.

January-May exports rose 16.7% in volume terms from a year earlier and in euro terms they rose 19.1% to €27.535 billion. Five-month import volume rose 14.6% yr/yr and euro-term imports rose 16.4% to 25.290 billion in the period.

The increases follow a 18.9% euro-term drop of Hungary's exports and a 24.7% decline of imports in euro terms in 2009.

The five-month trade surplus was revised to €2.245 billion from a €2.250 billion in the first reading. The surplus in the first five months of 2010 was sharply up from €1.402 billion a year earlier. The country posted a full-year surplus of €3.98 billion in 2009.

Hungary has had a trade surplus each month since February 2009 as the 2008 autumn crisis reduced imports even more than exports.

Hungary's terms of trade improved by 0.3% in January-May from a year earlier as export prices fell 6.1% in forint terms and import prices fell slightly more, by 6.4% in forint terms. The forint strengthened about 8% against the main currencies of trade in the first five months compared to a year earlier, including a 7.7% strengthening against the euro and a 9.8% strengthening against the US dollar.

Euro-term exports has been rising yr/yr since last December after steady twelve-month declines between November 2008 and November 2009. Euro-term imports started to rise yr/yr only in January this year after uninterrupted declines between October 2008 and December 2009.

In volume terms both exports and imports has been up from a year earlier levels each month since last November. (MTI-ECONEWS)