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Plunging industrial output little surprise - analysts

  A sharp fall in Hungary’s industrial output in February comes as no surprise when considering the downturn on the country’s biggest export markets in Western Europe, analysts told MTI on Tuesday.

Hungary’s industrial output fell an adjusted 24.5% in February from the same period a year earlier, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said early Tuesday.

Concorde Securities’ János Samu said the 4.1% month-on-month drop in industrial output was a little worse than expected, but it fits the trend in Europe, where output plunged as well in January and February.

Measures of business sentiment point to a smaller decline in March and April, but any real improvement on Hungary’s biggest export markets -- and, as a result, on the Hungarian market -- is not likely to be seen until the end of the year.

Samu projected Hungary’s economy would contract by 5% in 2009.

CIB Bank’s Mariann Trippon also said the weak February data reflects the situation in the euro zone. Trade data shows Hungary’s export markets “collapsed” at the beginning of the year.

Both industrial output and export data show Hungary’s economy is likely to contract about 5% in 2009, she added. “Prettier” data could be seed from the second half of the year, Ms Trippon said.

MKB chief analyst Zsolt Kondrat said MKB Bank sees Hungary’s industrial output falling 19% for the full year. (MTI-conews)