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MNB says €2.5 bln of high Q4 FDI flows is "capital in transit"

According to the National Bank of Hungary, €2.5 billion of the net foreign direct investment arriving in Hungary in Q4 and the €2.7 billion of Hungarian businesses' net direct investments abroad during the quarter was "capital in transit", unrelated to the financing of the Hungarian economy.

The bank said it launched a pilot project to specify capital in transit within direct foreign investments in data of non-special-purpose companies. The phenomenon typically reflects capital transferred within international groups when they finance (or withdraw capital from) units in third countries through Hungarian subsidiaries.

The MNB said it plans to publish the first results of the project in its September balance of payment report. Up to that point, the bank will release a separate note on such capital movements only if the value is extraordinary as it was in the last quarter of 2011.

Both incoming and outgoing FDI reached all time highs in the last quarter.

The net €4 billion FDI arriving in Hungary in Q4 followed net withdrawals of a combined €990 billion in Q1-Q3. The €3 billion arriving in 2011 exceeded the 2010 inflow by almost €1.3 billion.

The big Q4 figure brought Hungarian businesses' net foreign direct investments in 2011 to €3.1 billion, three times the amount they invested abroad in 2010. 

FDI has tended to be seasonally high both ways in the fourth quarters, the MNB data show.