Hungary Current-Account Surplus Rises to Record on Exports

Hungary’s current-account surplus rose to a record in the third quarter as car exports bolstered the country’s recovery from recession, supporting the forint and government bonds.

The measure rose to 1.1 billion euros ($1.5 billion) in the July to September period, compared with 615 million euros in the previous three months and the highest since at least 1995, according to central bank data. Hungary had a trade surplus of 759 million euros in October as exports grew to 7.7 billion euros, the statistics office said in a separate release.

Hungary, the most indebted nation in the European Union’s east, emerged from its second recession in four years in the first quarter, helped by carmakers including Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi. The trade surplus has put Hungary among better-performing emerging markets as the U.S. Federal Reserve reduces asset purchases that boosted demand for risk.

The current-account surplus is “positive for the forint, this is what can keep the currency stable the most,” Gergely Gabler, a Budapest-based economist at Erste Group Bank AG, said by phone today. “The overall picture of the economy is positive right now, though we started from a low base.”

An increase in domestic consumption next year can give the economy a “healthier” growth structure, he said. That would also pare the trade surplus and lead to a “less strong” current account as well, according to Gabler.

Forint, Bonds

The forint gained 0.4 percent to 297.5 per euro by 5:57 p.m. in Budapest, paring its decline in 2013 to 2.1 percent, the fifth-best performance among 24 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Yields on Hungary’s benchmark 10-year forint-denominated bonds fell 14 basis points, or 0.14 percentage point, to 5.61 percent, the lowest in more than a month.

Investments by vehicle producers and their suppliers helped underpin a “sustainable” expansion in foreign trade, the Economy Ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Gross domestic product rose 1.8 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier as industrial output registered its first expansion since the second quarter of 2012, the statistics office said Dec. 4.

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