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Hungary had a 1.3 billion euros trade deficit in August, a first reading of data released by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) on Monday shows. The gap, a hair over the deficit in July, was the largest one in a string of consecutive deficits running for more than a year, an anomaly for Hungary, an export-driven economy where trade surpluses are the norm. Exports rose by an annual 37.1% to 11.466 billion euros, while imports increased by 40.6% to 12.765 billion euros. Trade with other European Union member states accounted for 75% of Hungary’s exports and 69% of its imports during the month. For the period January-August, Hungary’s exports increased by an annual 18.6% to 91.941 billion euros, while imports rose by 29.0% to 96.716 billion. The trade deficit reached 4.775 billion euros for the period.
András Horváth, chief analyst at Magyar Bankholding, blamed the swelling trade deficit on higher energy and commodities prices, noting that energy prices alone accounted for more than three-fourths of the deterioration in the trade balance in January-July. He said the gap would grow at a slower pace in the coming months as consumption and investments moderate, and he put the full-year deficit at 7 billion-7.5 billion euros.