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Hungary’s cash flow-based budget, excluding local councils, ran a 1,445.1 billion forint (EUR 4.5bn) deficit at the end of December, hitting 106.2% of the 1,360.7 billion full-year target, the Finance Ministry confirmed in a second reading of data. A lag between payouts by the Hungarian government to EU funding recipients and EU transfers had lifted the general deficit over 135% of the full-year target by November, but some 890 billion from Brussels that arrived in December narrowed the gap.
Hungary’s government has been pre-financing European Union-supported projects to avoid a snarl-up at the end of the 2014-2020 funding cycle. The full-year deficit, calculated using EU accrual-based accounting rules, is expected at around 2% of GDP, better than the original 2.4% target, while the ratio of gross public debt to GDP could have fallen further, to 71%, the ministry said. Final EU-conform numbers will be available in March at the earliest.