The key objective of Hungary’s economic policy in the coming term is to make economic growth more deep-rooted and stable, to facilitate further employment growth and improve the competitiveness of the country, Mihály Varga said at two hearings of parliamentary committees preceding his nomination as Economy Minister for the next four years.
In Q1 2014, Hungary’s GDP increased by 3.5 percent year-on-year. Quarter-on-quarter, the economy expanded by 1.1 percent. In international comparison, Hungary’s quarter-on-quarter growth was – along with Poland’s – the highest within the European Union. Final data are in line with preliminary statistics.
Last year, Kazakhstan was the third largest trading partner of Hungary within the Commonwealth of Independent States, with a total trade volume exceeding USD 261 million and up by 6.5 percent compared to last year. Within the above amount, the value of Hungarian exports was USD 210 million, signalling an increase of 34.3 percent year-on-year, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said at the press conference following the fourth session of the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) on Hungarian-Kazakh Economic Cooperation.
Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga, speaking on public broadcaster M1’s Ma reggel and Kossuth Radio’s 180 perc, said that the Government aims to formulate an industrial and economic development programme that identifies sectors upon which EU and domestic funding can be focused.
In light of Q1 2014 data, the value of exports to international markets totalled EUR 20.8bn in the observed period. Foreign buyers purchased mainly products of the vehicle manufacturing, machinery manufacturing and food industry.
In Q1 2014, the volume of investment increased by 22.6 percent year-on-year. Whereas the 15 percent growth in the previous quarter was a ten-year record high, current data show an unprecedented increase. As all major economic sectors have contributed to the steady improvement which has been observed in the past four quarters, it can be concluded that Hungarian economic growth has been placed on a sound footing.
The SZÉP Card has recently been the growth engine of domestic tourism, Deputy State Secretary for Tourism Viktória Horváth said at the ninth national conference of the Hungarian Tourism Destination Management Association (TDM) held in the spa city of Hajdúszoboszló.
According to the flash report of the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH), positive employment trends are continuing. In the period February-April 2014, the number of those aged 15-74 years in employment increased by 238 thousand, from 3 million 869 thousand one year ago to 4 million 107 thousand. In this period, the number of those in employment was 375 thousand more in comparison to the corresponding period of 2010. Although part of this growth is attributable to the effect of public work programmes and migration, thanks to the Government’s successful employment stimulus schemes, such as the First Job Guarantee Programme, housing subsidy or the programme supporting the creation of SME jobs, the private sector’s share of employment growth is increasing.
Following the eight-year record high registered in February, retail sales were record-breaking again, gaining 8.5 percent in March. This figure is indicating steady and continuous improvement of domestic consumption. The latest data has been the result of lower utility costs, family tax allowance, record-high increase in employment, higher wages in real terms and improving consumer sentiment. As cash machines have recently been connected on-line to the tax authority, it also created more transparency in the economy and thus this measure also contributed to growth.
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The Visegrád Four adopted a joint statement on enhanced collaboration within the European Research Area