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Wallis consumer-business confidence index rises for first time since general elections

Business confidence improved in September, while consumer sentiment worsened. The business confidence index rose 4.6 to -4.2 in September, the highest level in the last four years with the exception of the April and May 2006 and the spring of 2004. Managers in Hungary's industrial sector were more optimistic than they have been for the entire year, with both their assessment of the past months and outlook for the coming three months, based on production levels, improving. They said their stock of orders, including export orders, had grown, however they said production had decreased. Fewer managers said their companies planned price rises, despite higher energy costs in the fourth quarter. Slightly more managers said their companies planned to hire more staff. In the construction sector, managers' assessment of their companies' current position improved slightly. However, they said stock of orders had fallen a bit and fewer planned to hire more workers. Fewer managers compared to the previous month said prices in the sector would rise, but many more said they would rise compared to the same period a year earlier. After reaching a one-year low in August, confidence in the trade sector improved in September. They offered better assessments of their current positions and were more optimistic about future orders. Fewer trade business managers were worried about higher inflation than in July and August, but more were worried about higher prices than in the same period a year earlier. The consumer confidence index slipped 4.2 to -51.1 in September to reach its lowest point since June 1996. Households expressed growing pessimism about both their own financial outlooks as well as that of the country. They expected to see more unemployment and fewer said they could make savings. There outlook for inflation, however, improved somewhat. (Mti-Eco)