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Despite Weakening Performance, Germany Remains Our Top Foreign Trade Partner

Despite showing signs of weakening, Germany still holds the position as our top foreign trade partner when it comes to the exchange of goods and services.
According to the latest figures from the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), 63% of our service exports and 74% of our imports were transacted with member countries of the European Union, resulting in a EUR 1.1 billion surplus in the fourth quarter of 2023. Compared to the same period of the previous year, service exports measured in euros increased by 5.8%, while imports saw a marginal rise of 0.2%. The surplus stood at EUR 2.6 billion, which is EUR 462 million more than in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Service trade surplus for the year 2023 reached EUR 11 billion, which is EUR 2.1 billion more than the previous year, as reported by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH).

Germany Still Reigns as Our Number One Trading Partner

In the fourth quarter of 2023:

* Exports to Germany were valued at EUR 8.5 billion (HUF 3.3 trillion), while imports were at EUR 5.9 billion (HUF 2.3 trillion).

* The service trade surplus accounted for EUR 2.6 billion (HUF 1 trillion).

* Among service groups, business services contributed EUR 594 million, transportation services EUR 580 million, and tourism EUR 903 million to the surplus of the fourth quarter of 2023.

Exports of services to European Union countries accounted for 63%, while imports were at 74%, generating a surplus of EUR 1.1 billion.

Germany continues to be our primary partner, accounting for 21% of our total trade turnover. The United States followed as the second most significant partner with 9.7%, while Austria ranked third with 7.8% of trade participation.

* In service exports, business services made up 47% (with other business services at 26%), followed by transportation services at 23%, and tourism with a 20% share. Business services also led in import significance with a 58% share (other business services at 32%), while transportation services made up 23%, and tourism accounted for 14% of the total import turnover.

What Happened in the Third Quarter of 2023?

* Service exports registered a growth of 14% and imports by 9.8% in comparison to the same period the previous year.

* The surplus amounted to EUR 3.3 billion, which is EUR 616 million higher than the year prior.

* Compared to the previous quarter, exports increased by 17%, imports by 15%, and the surplus grew by EUR 604 million.

* Tourism contributed EUR 1.4 billion, transportation EUR 889 million, and business services EUR 523 million to the third-quarter surplus.

From January to September, the value of exports increased by 11% (EUR 2.4 billion), and imports by 5.6% (EUR 835 million) compared to the same period of the previous year.

Switzerland Recorded The Highest Improvement in Trade Balance

In the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the previous year:

* The value of service exports grew by 5.8% in euros (a decrease of 1.6% in forints), and the value of imports rose by 0.2% (a decrease of 6.9% in forints). The surplus exceeded the previous year's figure by EUR 462 million (HUF 114 billion).

* The moderate surge in the surplus was mainly due to the improvements in the balance of tourism and contract manufacturing services by EUR 270 million and EUR 135 million, respectively, although it is important to note the decrease of EUR 20 million in the balance of transportation services.

* Our trade balance with EU countries became more favorable by 23%, or EUR 201 million, significantly contributed by improvements in our trade balance with Germany and Ireland by EUR 116 million and EUR 60.4 million, respectively.

* For non-EU countries, the surplus rose by EUR 261 million, an increase of 20%, with the most significant gain of EUR 154 million recorded against Switzerland.

In 2023:

* The value of exports was EUR 33.7 billion (HUF 12.9 trillion), while that of imports was EUR 22.7 billion (HUF 8.7 trillion).

* Compared to the previous year, the value of exports increased by 11.6% (EUR 3.5 billion), and that of imports by 6.7% (EUR 1.4 billion).

Quarterly Data Revised

The data for the first through fourth quarters of 2022 and the first through third quarters of 2023 including contract manufacturing service fees, tourism, repair and maintenance, transportation, business, and government service data have been adjusted based on corporate data corrections. Compared to previously published euro figures, the 2022 export value has been adjusted up by 2.4%, imports by 4.1%, while for the first three quarters of 2023, exports increased by 3.4% and imports by 6.0%.

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