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The average gross wage for full-time workers in Hungary rose by an annual 12.1% to 345,860 forints (EUR 1,070) in February, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said. Net wages grew at the same pace, reaching 229,997 forints.

Wage growth in Hungary has been in the double digits for two years, since the government, employers and unions agreed on a series of minimum wage increases paired with payroll tax cuts. Calculating with twelve-month CPI of 3.1% in February, real wages increased by 8.7%.

Excluding the 111,600 Hungarians in fostered work programmes, the average gross wage rose by 11.2to 356,572 forints, while net wages grew at the same rate to 237,120 forints. Full-time fostered workers earned a gross 81,339 forints in February, 0.7% less than a year earlier.

KSH noted changes to its data sourcing first appearing in the January statistics: it is phasing out its practice of monthly data collection and instead getting data on wages and headcount from the National Tax and Customs Authority (NAV) and, in the case of the public sector, from the State Treasury. While reducing the data provision burden, the new sources bring a richer set of data, KSH said.

ING Bank senior analyst Péter Virovácz said the agreement on minimum wage rises was the main driver of overall wage growth, but the narrower range of non-wage benefits with tax preferences was also a contributing factor, as employers made up for the discontinuation of some such benefits with higher remuneration. Takarékbank analyst András Horváth forecast full-year wage growth of just over 10%, supported by the labour shortage.