Hungary’s trade balance showed a 475 million euro deficit in April, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a first reading of data released on Wednesday.
Hungary, an export-driven economy where trade surpluses are the norm, had a trade deficit for the tenth month in a row, KSH said.
Exports rose by an annual 12.1 percent to 11.052 billion euros and imports climbed by 21.1 percent to 11.527 billion.
Trade with other European Union member states accounted for 77 percent of exports and 70 percent of imports.
Magyar Bankholding chief analyst Gergely Suppan said with growing investments and consumptions the foreign trade balance is expected to deteriorate further, but in the second half of the year it could stabilise with the easing of the global chip shortage and new production capacities coming online. Because of the war in Ukraine, the trade balance could end up being negative for this year, after a 1.9 billion euro surplus in 2021, he added.
Századvég chief macro analyst Gábor Regős said the weakness of the automotive sector is proving to be a drag on export growth, while also noting that consumption and investments are boosting imports.
Regős said price changes are also affecting the trade balance, as import prices are growing at a faster rate than export prices, because of a boom in global energy prices.
Erste Bank macroeconomic analyst János Nagy said monthly trade figures should show a deficit in the short term. Until the difficulties of the automotive sector lessen, goods export will not be able to grow dynamically. The rise in energy costs becoming persistent pose a downside risk, but starting in H2 exports could start catching up to imports with the global economy recovering and through the huge capacity expansions already announced, he added.