Hungary’s budget deficit, calculated according to the European Union’s accrual-based accounting rules, came to 2.2% of GDP last year, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. Hungary’s government had targeted an ESA 2010 deficit of 2.4% of GDP. The government’s deficit target for 2019 is 1.8% of GDP. In absolute terms, the deficit reached 934 billion forints (EUR 2.9bn). On the spending side, compensation paid to employees was up by 5.7% or 238 billion forints and social benefits other than social transfers in kind increased by 4.7%, or 218 billion forints. Gross fixed capital formation jumped by 39.7%, or 693 billion forints and other expenditures were up by 13.3%, or 435 billion forints.
KSH said that Hungary’s public debt, based on data from the National Bank of Hungary (NBH), stood at 29,807 billion forints at the end of 2018, equivalent to 70.8 percent of GDP.
Speaking at a press conference after the data was published, Finance Minister Mihály Varga noted that Hungary had a primary surplus in 2018 (spending was less than revenue without the cost of debt maintenance). Interest spending came to 1,066 billion forints in 2018. Hungary has had primary surpluses every year since 2012.