(MTI) – Hungary’s exports are set to increase by 2.0-2.4 percent this year, bringing the trade surplus to above 7 billion euros, Economy Minister Mihaly Varga said on Monday.
The forint’s current euro exchange rate helps exporters and is budget-neutral, Varga told a press conference. The government has no exchange rate target, he added. Varga said its first priority in terms of its external economy strategy is to boost exports in the 2012-2020 period, with a view to standing “on a multiple footing” and diversifying markets.
Another aim is to boost the share of exports to non-EU countries to one-third from the current one-fifth by 2018, he said. Helping exports by small and medium-sized firms is another goal.
Hungary’s most important trading partner is Germany, with more than a quarter of exports targeting that country, he noted. The government has announced a policy of maintaining ties with the West and opening towards the East, the first results of which are already apparent, Varga added.
Exports targeting non-EU countries accounted for 22.9 percent of Hungary’s exports in 2013 while imports accounted for 28.4 percent. Exports to non-EU countries rose by 4.1 percent last year on the previous year, more than the EU average, while imports from these countries fell by 0.7 percent in the same period.
Exports to Russia — Hungary’s number one non-EU trading partner — stayed level from 2012 last year at 2.55 billion euros. Exports to the US, the second largest trading partner, rose by 29.8 percent to 2.47 billion euros. Exports to Turkey rose by 17.3 percent to 1.42 billion euros.
Exports to China rose by annual 6.9 percent to 1.5 billion euros last year. Exports to South Korea rose by 25.1 percent to 225.2 million euros, he said.
Hungary’s trade surplus reached 7.009 billion euros last year, the latest data from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) show. Exports climbed 2.2 percent to a record 81.719 billion euros.