Following are some of the top business and finance news from the past week:
2018 RECORD YEAR IN HUNGARIAN TOURISM!
Hungary drew a record number of foreign visitors last year, 650,000 more than in 2017, the director-general of the Hungarian Tourism Agency (Magyar Turisztikai Ügynökség – MTÜ) said. Read more details HERE.
S+P UPGRADES HUNGARY TO ‘BBB’; OUTLOOK ‘STABLE’
S+P Global Ratings upgraded Hungary’s sovereign rating to ‘BBB’, two notches over the investment grade threshold, with a ‘stable’ outlook. “The upgrade reflects Hungary’s sound growth prospects, supported by high private savings and real wage gains sustaining domestic demand, as well as the ongoing expansion of export capacity in the automotive and services sectors,” S+P said in its rationale for the ratings action.
ORBÁN PROPOSES MATOLCSY AS NBH HEAD FOR ANOTHER TERM
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will propose György Matolcsy for another term as governor of the National Bank of Hungary (NBH), the PM’s press chief said. Under the watch of Matolcsy, a former economy minister whose hallmark is unorthodox, albeit effective, policy, the central bank base rate has been brought to a historic low. He has also overseen a reversal in corporate lending trends supported by the NBH’s Funding for Growth Scheme, and he helped coordinate the conversion of retail FX mortgages into forints, reducing household debt by some 1,000 billion forints.
VIRESOL INAUGURATES HUF 33BN WHEAT STARCH PLANT
Grain processing company Viresol inaugurated a 33 billion forint wheat starch plant in Visonta, in north-east Hungary. The company was awarded a 6.2 billion forint government grant for the project. Details HERE.
AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY OUTPUT CLIMBS ALMOST 10PC IN DECEMBER
Production volume of Hungary’s automotive industry, which accounts for about 27 percent of the output of Hungary’s manufacturing sector, rose by an annual 9.9 percent in December, the KSH said in a detailed reading of data. Output of the computer, electronics and optical equipment segment, which makes up 13 percent of total manufacturing sector output, jumped by 17.9 percent during the period.
NBH UNDERLYING INFLATION INDICATOR REACHES 3 PC
The National Bank of Hungary’s indicator for core inflation, excluding the effects of indirect taxes, rose to 3 percent in January, the highest rate since February 2012.
NBH deputy governor Márton Nagy said in January that if core inflation excluding tax effects reaches or rises above 3 percent, this could be sufficient grounds for the central bank to start tightening monetary policy.
VOLUNTARY PENSION FUND CONTRIBUTIONS UP 13 PC IN 2018
Contributions accounted by members of Hungary’s National Association of Voluntary Pension Funds (OPOSZ) rose by an annual 13 percent to 114 billion forints in 2018, association head Gábor Kravalik said. Voluntary pension fund members’ contributions increased by 12 percent to more than 70 billion forints and employer contributions were up 15 percent at 43.5 billion.