BUSINESS

Railway workgroup meets in Budapest

A workgroup comprised of members of the Coordination Council on Trans-Siberian Transportation, Russian Railways and state-owned Hungarian railway company MÁV discussed Hungarian-Russian cooperation and trans-Siberian freight service at meetings in Budapest yesterday and today, MÁV said.

BUSINESS

Alcoa winds up $13 mln expansion in Hungary

U.S.-based aluminum company Alcoa today inaugurated a $13 mln expansion at its wheel plant in Székesfehérvár in norwestern Hungary with the help of a $4.4 mln government grant, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

BUDAPEST

BP zoo to wind up HUF 25 bln expansion

The Hungarian government allocated HUF 25 bln for the construction of a new complex at the Budapest Zoo, government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said at a press conference held at the zoo yesterday.

ECONOMY

KSH: PPI up 0.1% in December

Hungary’s industrial producer prices (PPI) edged up by a year-on-year 0.1% in December, and exports prices rose by 1.7%, while domestic prices fell by 2.5%, the Central Statistics Office (KSH) reported today.

ECONOMY

MNB: Weaker forint raises retail lending stock in December

The weaker forint raised Hungarian banks' retail lending stock in December, even has households made net repayments on their loans, a monthly report published by the National Bank of Hungary on Friday shows.

OPINION

Illegal Logging in Myanmar and China’s Complicity

The recent escalation of tensions in northern Myanmar – resulting from the military’s crackdown on illegal logging – once again brought Myanmar to the top of China’s list of foreign policy priorities.

ECONOMY

MNB: Corporate lending stock rises more than HUF 72 bln in December

Corporate lending stock of Hungarian banks rose by HUF 72.2 bln to HUF 6,835.6 bln in December from a month earlier on net borrowing and a weaker forint, a report by the National Bank of Hungary published Friday shows.

POLITICS

PM confirms talks with RTL Group on ad tax

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán confirmed that the government has been talking with German RTL Group about lowering the advertising tax, but said nothing has been decided and he insists on a revenue of HUF 7-10 bln from the tax, hvg.hu said yesterday. RTL reportedly agreed its Hungarian TV station would stop criticizing the government in exchange for the tax cut.

POLITICS

PM: ‘A lady is coming to Hungary’

In response to questions about German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told state-owned Kossuth radio this morning that “a lady is coming to Hungary [on February 2] therefore we are not insisting on any topics” in an attempt to circumvent the radio's query on topics to be discussed, index.hu reported today.

POLITICS

Fidesz approves of its politician sentenced for embezzlement

Pécs’s Fidesz-dominated general meeting approved of Ibolya Fodor’s mandate in a closed session after the MSZP party asked for a vote in her case, online news portal hvg.hu reported yesterday. 

BUSINESS

Hungarian subsidiaries of Alstom currently under criminal investigation

The Hungarian subsidiaries of French electricity and rail transport company Alstom could be next in line in an investigation by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) regarding alleged corruption, Reuters reported yesterday.

ECONOMY

Bank of America: Emerging-market currencies undervalued by 0.9%

Emerging-market currencies are undervalued by an average of 0.9%, according to a proprietary valuation framework developed by Bank of America Merrill Lynch strategists, which estimates the long-term equilibrium exchange rate for 22 emerging-market currencies, MTI news agency reported yesterday. 

BUSINESS

Commerzbank: Fostered worker program lowers unemployment rate in 2014

Commerzbank predicts that Hungary's unemployment rate will remain at 7% "for the time being," with much of the improvements reported in 2014 attributable to the fostered worker scheme. This type of job creation is reaching its limits, Commerzbank said yesterday. 

BUSINESS

Bericap concludes a HUF 1.2 bln investment

Injection moulding company Bericap announced that it has wound up a HUF 1.2 bln investment at its plant in Székesfehérvár, in northwestern Hungary. The development was supported with a HUF 228 mln grant from the European Union. 

BUSINESS

Yves Rocher sales climb 31% in Hungary

French cosmetics company Yves Rocher's revenue in Hungary rose 31% to HUF 2 bln last year, the local unit's sales director reported yesterday. Growth in sales could slow this year, but is not likely to decrease, Judit Venczel said. 

ECONOMY

Forint recovers on interbank market

The forint was trading at 311.02 to the euro late Thursday on the interbank forex market, up from 312.64 late Wednesday. At 312.53 to the euro early Thursday, the forint moved between 310.46 and 313.37, a one-week low. It reached a nearly seven-week high at 306.44 on Monday intraday, after hitting an all-time low at 327.62 on January 15.

ECONOMY

BUX down on global gloom

The Budapest Stock Exchange's main BUX index finished down 1.48% at 16,667.99 Thursday after dropping 0.20% Wednesday. It is up 0.20% from year-end, after losing 10.40% last year.

BUSINESS

Népszava: RTL will drop criticism, gov't agrees to cut ad tax

Cabinet Chief János Lázár yesterday agreed with Andreas Rudas, regional vice-president of RTL Group, that RTL's Hungarian station RTL Klub will soften its criticism of the government in their news show and Hungary's advertisement tax will be capped at 5.3% of revenues, online daily Népszava reported today, citing an unnamed source.

BUSINESS

K&H Bank: SME sentiment deteriorates

K&H Bank's latest index of SME confidence fell 5 points from the previous quarter to -15 in the fourth quarter of last year due to pessimism regarding taxes and the accessibility of European Union funding, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

ECONOMY

MNB buys property at auction for HUF 2.7 bln

The National Bank of Hungary (MNB) today said it had acquired property in the capital's District II at an open auction held by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA), for the starting price of HUF 2.7 bln, Hungarian news agency MTI reported today.

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