Government efforts to boost investment set new records in 2018 both in terms of the number of projects and their combined value, the foreign minister said on Thursday.
The Hungarian economy saw a total of 98 major investments worth 1,380 billion forints (EUR 4.3bn) last year, Péter Szijjártó told a news conference. The government contributed 135 billion forints in non-refundable support to the projects, he added.
The investments helped create 17,024 jobs, the minister said. The average monthly gross salary in newly created jobs was 425,700 forints, which is 40 percent higher than the 2017 average salary, he added.
Thanks to these major investments, Hungary registered the third lowest unemployment rate in the European Union last year, Szijjártó said.
He also pointed out that the investments generally represented higher value-added and placed greater emphasis on research and development.
The largest number of investments — 28 projects — originated from Germany last year, totalling 620 billion forints in value, Szijjártó said. American and Hungarian companies carried out 15 projects each, he added. The value of Hungarian investments exceeded 100 billion forints, the minister said.
The car industry accounted for the largest share of investments with 36 projects worth a total of 851 billion forints, Szijjarto said. This was followed by the business services sector and the electronics sector with 10 projects each.
Szijjártó said the fact that 17 of last year’s major investments came from South Korea, India, Japan and China was a testament to the success of the government’s strategy of opening to the East.
Since the government brought the management of foreign policy and foreign trade under one ministry in 2014, its investment promotion strategy has helped bring 71,800 new jobs to Hungary, he said.
Citing foreign trade data from the first ten months of 2018, Szijjártó said Hungarian exports could again exceed 100 billion euros for the whole year, noting that exports were up 7.6 percent by the end of October.