Hungary has EUR 366m c/a surplus, EUR 875m external financing capacity in Q4 – 1st reading

Budapest, March 31, 2010 (MTI-ECONEWS) – Hungary had a current account surplus of EUR 366m and net external financing capacity — a positive combined balance of the current account and the capital account — of EUR 875m in Q4 2010, unadjusted figures published by the National Bank of Hungary (NBH) on Thursday show.

Both the current account surplus and external financing capacity narrowed from the downward revised Q3 figures but increased sharply from a year earlier.

Calculated as a sum of the four quarters, the country had a EUR 2.031bn c/a surplus in 2010, up sharply from EUR 332m in 2009. The country’s net external financing capacity more than doubled to EUR 3.821bn from EUR 1.442bn in 2009, the first reading shows.

The NBH revised the 2009 external financing capacity up from EUR 753m as it revised an earlier reported EUR 429m c/a deficit for 2009 into a EUR 332m while reducing the 2009 surplus on the capital account by EUR 73m to EUR 1.109bn as part of the current revision.

After adjusting for seasonal effects, Hungary’s external financing capacity was EUR 1.101bn or 4.1pc of GDP in Q4, up from EUR 921m in Q3 last year and up from EUR 616m a year earlier.

The seasonally adjusted current account surplus was EUR 534m in the fourth quarter of 2010, up from an upward revised EUR 506m in Q3, but down from EUR 613m in the first quarter and from EUR 549m in the second quarter of last year.

Hungary’s external financing position as well as its c/a balance has been in surplus since Q2 2009, the revised figures show.

Seasonally adjusted net inflow of transfers from the European Union, including current and capital transfers, rose to EUR 934m in Q4 — up EUR 103m from Q3 and their highest level since Hungary’s EU accession in 2004 –, and were responsible for the bulk but not all of the quarter’s net external financing capacity.

The surplus on trade of goods and services continued to exceed the shortfall on income transfers in Q4 2010, as has been the case since Q2 2009. The seasonally adjusted revenues from the export of goods has been exceeding that of the previous quarter from the beginning of 2009, and the adjusted import expenditure has been up from the previous quarter since Q2 2009.

Hungary shifted from a net external financing requirement into a financing ability in Q2 2009 as the 2008 crisis resulted in a widening surplus on trade and services, profits of foreign-owned companies shrank and net transfers from the EU increased.

Seasonally adjusted exports in Q4, at EUR 22.213bn, rose to their highest value since Q2 2008, and adjusted imports rose to EUR 20.1bn, the highest since Q4 2008. The adjusted trade surplus widened EUR 158m to EUR 1.243bn in Q4 2010.

The adjusted surplus on tourism was little changed from the previous quarters at EUR 466m, with both tourism spending and revenues practically unchanged from Q3.

The EUR 158m seasonally adjusted surplus of services excluding tourism was also practically flat with hardly changed revenues EUR 2.598bn and spending of EUR 2.445bn in Q4. Services excluding tourism has been in surplus every quarter since Q2 2009.

A seasonally adjusted deficit on income flows rose further, to EUR 1.405bn, increasing steadily since Q1 last year, the NBH said noting that data on reinvested income remain an estimate until September 2011.

Unadjusted accrual-based figures show that Hungary received EUR 258m current transfers from the EU in Q4, bringing the 2010 total to EUR 1.208bn. Capital transfers from the EU totalled EUR 849m in Q4 and EUR 2.222bn last year.