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UPDATE - Hungary August trade surplus revised slightly up

Hungary had a €501.2m trade surplus in August, up slightly from a preliminary HUF 492.4m, and also up from €354.8m in July and from an €445m surplus a year earlier, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) said in a second reading on Thursday.

August exports were revised slightly up and imports down from preliminary figures published on October 10.

Export and imports growth picked up both in euro and in volume terms in August and the double-digit figures experienced up to May returned after a sharp slowdown in June and July. In euro terms, the pace of export growth was again slightly below that of imports as was in June. Volume-term export growth well surpassed that of imports. The rises were from a high base.

Euro-term exports rose 13.0% in the twelve months to August, more than double the 5.8% increase in July, and reached €6,428bn. Imports increased 13.1% to €5.927bn. Export growth picked up from 5.8% in July and import growth accelerated even more sharply after slowing to 2.5% in July.

In volume terms, August exports grew 10.9% yr/yr, more than double the July rise of 4.2%, and import volumes rose 8.4% in twelve months after a 0.5% yr/yr decline in July and a slight 0.5% growth in June.

Hungary registered a €4.701bn surplus in January-August, up €1.373bn from €3.428bn in the same period a year earlier. Eight-month exports rose 16.0% to €52.447bn. Imports were up 14.2% at €47.737bn in the period.

January-August export volumes rose 12.2% and import volume rose 9.5%.

Hungary's terms of trade worsened 1% in the first eight months of 2011 compared to one year earlier as import prices rose 2.6% in forint terms while export prices rose 1.6%. The forint firmed 8.4% against the US dollar and firmed 1.7% against the euro in the period.

The export volume of machinery and transport equipment rose 10.8% and their imports volume rose 7.0% in the first eight months compared to a year earlier. The euro-term increases were slightly less, reflecting price drops both ways. Road vehicle and general machinery trade volume rose at double-digit rate in both direction in the period, KSH said but telecom equipment export volume has fallen yr/yr since June and such imports has fallen since May.

Eight-month manufactured product exports rose 17.1% in volumes and rose 21.4% in euro terms. Their imports rose 13.8% in volume terms and rose 19.6% in euros. Pharmaceuticals and healthcare product exports volume rose by more than a quarter and their import rose by one-sixth, KSH said. Vehicle production related exports rose above the average rate as did both exports and imports of rubber products.

January-August energy imports were up 19.6% in volume and rose 30.2% in euros, reflecting the rise of global prices. Within the total, oil and oil product import volume was up 13% while gas imports fell 16% yr/yr although has risen since June. Energy exports were up 20.3% in volume terms and rose 48.6% euro terms.

Food, beverage and tobacco exports volume rose 17.1% in January-August in volumes and rose 22.1% in euro terms. Export volume of grain and -products, the biggest item, has been down yr/yr since March, and fell 11% in the first eight months. Import volume rose 5.8% in the group, with a 18.2% rise in euro terms.

Taking the biggest export items, January-August food export prices rose 17.1% yr/yr in forint terms, manufactured product prices rose 1.9% and the prices in the exports of machinery and transport equipment fell 2.0% yr/yr in forint terms.

Within imports, energy import prices rose 19.6% yr/yr in January-August in forint terms, prices of manufactured goods rose 3.3%, more than the respective export prices, and those of machinery and transport equipment imports fell 2.4%, more than the export prices for the same product group did.

In a breakdown per countries, forint-term export prices rose the most, by 5.5% yr/yr in the first eight months, in exports to the new EU member states and rose just 0.9% to the EU-15 countries. The export prices rose 1.8% in the trade with OECD countries and were practically unchanged via extra-EU countries.

The new EU members also led the list in terms of forint-term import price increases, with a rise of 4.1% compared to January-August 2010. Imports from the old EU members became 1.6% more expensive in the period, import prices for deliveries from extra-EU countries rose 3.4% and those from OECD countries rose 1.8% in the first eight months.