See below the main business and financial news from the previous week:
Have you ever wondered which ordinary job pays the most in Hungary? Data from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office revealed that one can find the highest paying job in Hungary in Csongrád county. The good wages are due to the oil and natural gas fields located in the Southern part of the country.
Government efforts to boost investments last year set records both in terms of the number of projects and their value, with 96 investments worth 3.5 billion euros, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said last week.
The Hungarian government gave multinational companies 188 billion HUF (EUR 607.1M) altogether to create new jobs. Based on their calculations these became the most expensive new workplaces in the country. Besides, the reality is far from the one million new workplaces promised before their victory in the 2010 elections.
Hungary struggles hard with labour shortage which affects almost every sector of the economy. In fact, commerce is among the most affected ones. The reason is simple: more and more work abroad for better wages. Therefore, multinational supermarket chains like Aldi decided to raise salary. However, it is more and more difficult hold their ground for food supply chains like Coop owning mostly small shops in the countryside. The situations of their shops in villages and small towns are especially bad because of the lack of workforce and purchasing power. Thus, many of their shops open only for a couple of hours during the whole week.
According to the conservative foundation, the most serious problems of the Hungarian economy are corruption and the enrichment of businessmen close to the government. For example, former gas fitter and PM Viktor Orbán’s friend Lőrinc Mészáros collected a more significant fortune in only three years than Habsburgs had 90 years ago.
Hungarian pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter said the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had recommended temporarily restricting prescriptions of its uterine fibroid drug Esmya until a review of potentially related liver injury is completed. The EMA’s Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) recommended regular live monitoring of women taking Esmya. It also recommended that no new patients should be started on Esmya and no patients who have completed a course of treatment should start another one.
Hungary could soon sign an agreement on the import of an annual 4 billion cubic metres of gas from Romania over 15 years, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said. Three Hungarian-owned companies are in the top three spots in a tender for the gas, he said. From 2021 or 2022, the era of the Russia’s gas monopoly in Hungary is expected to end, as more than half of the gas the country consumes will come from Romania, he added.
Hungary’s industrial output edged down an unadjusted 0.5 percent year-on-year in December, a first reading of data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) showed. Adjusted for the number of work days, output climbed 4.5 percent. A KSH official noted that there were two fewer work days in December than in the base period, explaining the discrepancy between the adjusted and unadjusted figures. Output for the full year was up 4.8 percent.
Diagnostic imaging company Affidea Diagnosztika acquired peer Főnix-Med, a private healthcare provider. The acquisition is the biggest ever by a professional investor in the Hungarian private healthcare sector, said Affidea managing director György Leitner, without revealing the transaction price.
Property holding company Appeninn said it is purchasing 18 commercial properties from Erste Property Investment Fund and Erste Euro Property Investment Fund for 14.5 million euros. The properties are located outside of the capital and are leased by supermarket chain SPAR.
The National Bank of Hungary unveiled a “strategic vision” that aims to boost the number of personal pensions and unit-linked life insurance policy holders by one million by 2026. The NBH aims to raise the rate of such policy holders among the economically active population over 80 percent by 2026 from 54 percent in 2016. Savings in personal pensions and unit-linked life insurance could double, increasing to more than 10 percent of GDP from 8.7 percent in 2016 if the goal is achieved.
Hungary’s cash flow-based budget, excluding local councils, posted a 192.8 billion forint (EUR 617.6m) deficit at the end of January, the Economy Ministry said in a preliminary release. The deficit reached 14.2 percent of the 1,360.7 billion forints annual target. Among expenditures were 327.9 billion forints in advance payments on European Union funding, the ministry said.
Net sales of Zwack Unicum, Hungary’s best known spirits maker, fell about 3 percent annually to 12.1 billion forints in Q1-Q3 of the company’s business year ending March 31, an earnings report showed. Zwack attributed the decline to a spike in sales of its Kalinka vodka brand in the base period, before the spirit was impacted by changes to the Public Health Product Tax. The scope of the tax was broadened from the start of the 2017 calendar year.
Danish biotechnology company Foss will set up a 2 billion forint R+D centre in Pécs (SW Hungary), Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó announced. The government is supporting the investment, which will create 88 jobs for highly-qualified professionals, with a 773 million forint grant.
Hungary will repay early the 78.2 million euros in financing it has so far drawn down for an upgrade of the Paks nuclear power plant, Economy Minister Mihály Varga said.