Single-digit CPI 'Realistic' in Nov, 'Certain' in Dec - Gulyás

Government

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Hungary's CPI could "realistically" fall into the single digits in November, Gergely Gulyás, the head of the Prime Minister's Office, said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

Gulyás said there was "less chance" of reaching the single-digit range in October, but added that the government's target was "certain" to be reached in December.

He noted that vehicle fuel prices had been higher than expected and added that pipeline transit fees Hungarian oil and gas company MOL was paying for Russian crude shipped through Ukraine were "three-and-a-half times the market benchmark". Higher fuel prices have added half a percentage point to headline CPI, he added.

Consumer prices in Hungary rose 16.4% year-on-year in August. CPI fell for the seventh month in a row after peaking at 25.7% in January.

Gulyás noted that Hungary would host the fifth Budapest Demographic Summit starting Thursday and pointed out that the country's fertility rate had risen from 1.23 in 2010 to 1.59 at the end of 2021, the biggest increase in the European Union.

He said the cabinet had discussed for the first time on Wednesday a draft of a measure on home purchase subsidies for city-dwellers that could replace the existing CSOK scheme. 

Fielding questions on reports that the government was close to reaching a deal to buy Ferenc Liszt International operator Budapest Airport, Gulyás said that details would be announced if and when an agreement was reached. He also said the acquisition of the airport operator could boost state debt, but would not raise the budget deficit. 

Asked when Hungary could access its EU funding, he said the government had "fulfilled all of the required conditions" and the European Commission had to take a decision on the matter by November.

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