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Industrial output slows as automotive sector sputters

Output of Hungary's industrial sector rose by an annual 3.1 percent in April, slowing from 3.6 percent in the previous month, as output of automotive companies continued to shrink, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a first reading of data on Wednesday.

Adjusted for the number of working days, output increased by 4.7 percent.

Month on month, output fell a seasonally and working day-adjusted 1.6 percent.

While automotive sector output declined, KSH said output of the other two big industrial sector segments — computers, electronics and optical equipment, and food, drink and tobacco products — rose over headline growth.

For the period January-April, industrial output rose by 4.9 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Analysts told MTI that the industrial production data came in according to expectations, though the outlook was hard to assess.

Gabor Regos of the macroeconomic unit of the Szazadveg Institute said the effects of the war could still be seen in the data, though production had not been weighed down too much so far. Vehicle production was off-kilter due to a dearth of raw materials from Ukraine and Russia, though supply-chain difficulties predated the war, he said. Economic growth may pick up in the second quarter at the earliest, he added.

Gergely Suppan of Magyar Bankholding said it was “reassuring” that vehicle orders still had a high backlog, and investments in Hungarian industry meant that its performance had diverged from that of Germany.

Notwithstanding the effects of the war in Ukraine and high global inflation, the economic recovery is boosting demand, and the rebooted defence industry may deliver Hungary big revenues, Suppan said, adding that output was likely to grow by 5-6 percent in the full year.

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