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Concorde Says Hungary Industrial Growth May Turn ‘Favorable’

Janos Samu, an economist at Concorde Research in Budapest, comments on the outlook for Hungarian industrial output.

Production rose 6 percent in December from a year earlier, the slowest since March, after a 14.7 percent increase in November, the statistics office in Budapest said today. The median estimate of nine economists in a Bloomberg survey was 17.5 percent.

Samu made the comments in an e-mailed note.

On the December figures:

“It is pretty difficult to explain the surprisingly low output last December. The statistical office said that the decline was felt across the bulk of the sectors, with the telecommunication equipment producers leading the fall. It is difficult to understand this negative figure in the light of the December PMI’s.”

On the Purchasing Managers’ Index survey:

“Both the German Ifo index, as Hungary’s largest export market, and Hungary’s MLBKT PMI indicated the continuation of the favorable outlook of producers. The export order sub index was at 53.6 in December, which is well in expansion territory. This index rose to 61.6 in January, indicating that there was no problem with orders and that January figures may compensate for the December decline.”

On Hungarian industrial output:

“Put in an international perspective, the Hungarian output fall is clearly an outlier.

“We are thus puzzled with respect to the precise reasons behind the December output figure. It could be a measurement problem as well as a long production shutdown in some large factories, although the lack of newspaper information about these shutdowns reduces the probability of this explanation.

“Even so, we feel that coming months would very likely bring back more favorable growth figures given the level of PMI’s.”

On the estimate for fourth-quarter GDP figures:

“Based on the fourth-quarter industrial output figures, there is a large chance that the value added of industry in the last quarter of 2010 was negative in quarter-on-quarter terms. We have previously accounted for a further advance in industrial output in our fourth-quarter GDP growth forecast.

“Taking this figure into perspective, it is likely that the economic growth rate in the fourth quarter was 1.6 percent, bringing the full year’s GDP growth figure to 0.9 percent.”

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