Budapest, November 9 (MTI) – Hungary’s trade surplus came to 1.040 billion euros in September, a first reading of data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Wednesday shows.
The surplus went up by 175 million euros from the same period a year earlier.
Exports rose by an annual 1.9 percent to 8.422 billion euros in September. Imports were down by 0.2 percent at 7.382 billion euros.
About 79 percent of Hungary’s trade was with other EU member states.
In January-September, the trade surplus reached 7.676 billion euros, up 1.221 billion euros from the same period a year earlier. Exports rose by 2.9.0 percent to 69.362 billion euros and imports were up by 1.2 percent to 61.686 billion euros.
KSH will publish detailed September foreign trade data on December 2.
Analysts were surprised by the large monthly surplus, citing the weak performance of the industry in September. The majority of those polled by MTI said that the surplus — the second highest ever for September — could indicate a continued drop of investments.
Takarekbank analyst Gergely Suppán was an exception, saying that in his view decrease of imports rate has reflected still low energy prices more than the drop of investments that could have slowed. Growth was supported by consumption and net exports in Q3, he said, noting that a dynamic rise of European car sales could mean rising exports. He projected a 1 billion euro rise in the annual trade surplus, to 9.6 billion euros. Next year, the surplus could be between 8.6-8.8 billion euros as investments and oil prices rise.
ING Bank leading analyst Péter Virovácz said investments could have dropped as available data exclude a drop of consumption. This is bad news regarding Q3 growth, he said. The first reading of Q3 GDP figures are due on November 15.
Erste Bank leading analyst Gergely Urmossy also said that the big monthly surplus is not necessarily reassuring as it could be linked to the disappointing September contraction of industrial output. He expected a continuing large trade surplus in the remainder of the year and in 2017 which he said could be a support to the forint’s exchange rate if global market sentiment gets sour.