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Trade balance returns to surplus in December

Hungary's trade balance returned to a surplus in December, a first reading of data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Tuesday shows. Hungary has had trade deficits every month since July. In December, the trade balance showed a surplus of 187 million euros.

Exports rose by an annual 19.6 percent to 10.090 billion euros, while imports grew by 21.4 percent to 9.903 billion.

Trade with other European Union member states accounted for 74 percent of Hungary’s exports and 73 percent of its imports.

In the full year, exports increased by 13.7 percent to 119.390 billion euros, while imports increased by 17.7 percent to 116.999 billion. The full-year trade surplus was 2.391 billion, narrowing from 5.618 billion in 2020.

Takarekbank analyst Gergely Suppan told MTI that export growth was supported by an improvement in industrial output. An easing of supply-chain problems and the global semiconductor shortage, together with new production capacities, could improve the trade balance from the second half of 2022, lifting the full-year surplus to 2.8-3.0 billion euros, he added.

Gabor Regos of Szazadveg said the positive data in December surprised on the upside, and the rise in both exports and imports also had been unexpected. This may have been on the back of an easing of restrictions compared with the previous year, he added. The smaller decline in vehicle production than anticipated probably nudged exports higher, while higher consumption over Christmas likely bumped up imports, he said. The December surplus may turn into a more lasting positive foreign trade balance in the coming months, Regos said.

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