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Industrial output, trade suffers from EU slowdown

The drop in Hungary’s industrial output, which fell for the 3rd month in a row in August (well before the sudden worsening of the global financial crisis), is closely linked to a slowdown on the country’s biggest export markets in the EU, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a monthly summary published Tuesday.


Twelve-month industrial output fell 1.9% in August, according to workday-adjusted figures. Unadjusted output dropped 5.9%. Unadjusted industrial export volume declined for the first since 2003. At the same time, industrial output in the eurozone dropped 0.7%, including a 6.2% fall in output of consumer durables. In the EU-27, output was down 1.1%, including a 5-3% fall in consumer durables output. In a month-on-month comparison, Hungary’s August exports to 19 of the EU-27 dropped.

Exports to Germany slipped 4.6%, exports to Austria dropped 12.0% and exports to Italy were down 0.8%. In a yearly comparison, Hungary’s manufactured industrial exports dropped 9.3% in August. All of the country’s biggest manufacturing sectors contracted: output of the electric equipment manufacturing sector fell 10.4%, vehicle output dropped 3.6% and the machinery sector contracted 5.7%.

Ironically, the stock of new export orders rose 4.1% in August from the same month a year earlier. Total stock of export orders climbed 18.9%, the biggest increase since a 21.4% rise recorded in January 2007. Hungary’s twelve-month exports fell 0.7% in euro terms in August and imports dropped 1.1%, resulting in a trade deficit of €104 million. The fall in both exports and imports was the first since February 2003.

Hungary’s H1 trade surplus of €466 million was nearly wiped out by the €365 million deficit in July - the first deficit after five months in a row of surpluses. In January-August, Hungary’s exports were up 10.9% and imports rose 9.8% from the same period a year earlier, well under the 18.1% rise in exports and the 14.3% increase in imports in January-August 2007. (Mti-Eco)