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The Hungarian foreign trade balance is even worse than it seemed until now

In July, a foreign trade deficit of 1.3 billion euros emerged, in which the drastic increase in energy prices plays a key role. This means a deficit of EUR 148 million higher than the preliminary data, which was already a record deficit anyway.

Expressed in euros, the value of exports increased by 13% and that of imports by 24%, but at the same time, the volume of exports was 1.3% lower, while the volume of imports was 1.5% higher than in the same period of the previous year. The huge difference between import growth expressed in euros and volume shows the enormous price effect.

Compared to previous years, Hungary purchases energy at a price that is many times higher, and this increases the value of total imports to such an extent that it drags the entire foreign trade balance into the depths.

The deficit for one year exceeds 5 billion euros, in the previous year ending last July we saw a surplus of 6.6 billion euros. The figure below clearly shows this change, where the 12-month rolling balance is in free fall.

We should have no illusions about the deficit data for the coming months either, since energy prices skyrocketed by the end of the summer, and we will be paying huge gas bills to Russia based on this. The only small consolation is that last year we also saw significant deficits in the second half of the year (that’s when energy prices began to fall), so compared to the previous year’s balances, there may not be such a deterioration. At the same time, there is little doubt that 2022 will be the highest ever annual foreign trade deficit in Hungary.

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Cover image: Getty Images

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