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Economic Overview

For the latest updates on the key economic responses from governments to address the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, please consult the IMF's policy tracking platform Policy Responses to COVID-19.

Resuming the trends observed in recent years, Hungary's GDP rebounded sharply after the softening of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hungary’s economy maintained strong momentum in the first half of 2022, driven mainly by domestic demand; but showed signs of pressure towards the end of the year as high energy prices and the slowdown of partner economies impacted household disposable income. Overall, the IMF estimated GDP growth at 5.7% over the year, whereas growth will be restrained in 2023 (1.8%) amid weaker external demand, lower investment and an eroded household income. As inflation pressures fade and the global situation normalizes, the Hungarian economy is expected to pick up again to 2.8% in 2024 (IMF).

The country’ public finances have been affected by COVID-related measures first and then by increased spending in response to high energy prices, therefore the public budget deficit stood at 6% of GDP in 2022 despite robust revenue growth. The deficit is expected to narrow to 3.6% in 2023 (driven by additional windfall profits and sectoral tax revenues) and to 3% the following year. The total net budgetary cost of measures to mitigate the impact of high energy prices is estimated at 0.9% of GDP in 2022, 2.5% in 2023 and 1.8% in 2024 (EU Commission). The public debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 74.8% last year and is expected to follow a downward trend over the forecast horizon (73.7% and 71.9% in 2023 and 2024, respectively – IMF), although sharply worsening financing conditions are projected to increase the debt-servicing costs substantially (reaching 3.4% of GDP by 2024). Inflation was extremely high in 2022, reaching 13.9% as it was driven not only by high energy prices but also by domestic inflationary pressure and currency depreciation (resulting in the highest non-energy inflation in the EU). Despite the tightening of monetary conditions by the Central Bank, inflation is set to remain high in 2023 (13.3%), before easing to 5.6% in 2024 (IMF).

Employment reached its pre-pandemic level already in the first half of 2021, and the labour market was robust also during 2022 when the unemployment rate fell to 3.4%. However, the economic slowdown will have repercussions on job creation, contributing to slower wage growth and higher unemployment (3.8% in 2023 – IMF), although the rise in unemployment will be limited by the shortages of skilled workers. Overall, GDP per capita in Hungary was estimated at USD 42,132 in 2022, still below the EU average (USD 53,960 – IMF).

Main Indicators 202020212022 (E)2023 (E)2024 (E)
GDP (billions USD) 157.18181.85168.29188.51203.32
GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change) -
GDP per Capita (USD) 16,08918,68817,30119,38620,917
General Government Balance (in % of GDP) -6.9-6.0-4.5-2.9-2.4
General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP) 79.376.876.473.270.0
Inflation Rate (%)
Unemployment Rate (% of the Labour Force)
Current Account (billions USD) -1.78-7.61-13.71-8.74-3.88
Current Account (in % of GDP) -1.1-4.2-8.1-4.6-1.9

Source: IMF – World Economic Outlook Database , October 2021

Country Risk

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Main Sectors of Industry

The agricultural sector, which used to be the dominant force in the Hungarian economy for many years, now represents 3.4% of GDP and employs 5% of the working population (World Bank, latest data available). The country has an agricultural area of 5,278k ha, around 56.7% of its territory. Cereals, fruits, maize, vegetables and wine are the main crops. More specifically, major crops include wheat (1 million ha), corn (1 million ha), and oilseeds (1 million ha) - mostly sunflower and rapeseed (0.9 million ha). In November 2022 the EU Commission approved the Common Agricultural Policy Plan for Hungary, with a budget of EUR 8.4 billion, including EUR 2 billion dedicated to environmental and climate objectives and eco-schemes, and EUR 186 million for young farmers.

Industry accounts for 24.3% of the country's GDP and employs 32% of the working population. Hungarian industry is very open to foreign investment, with manufacturing almost consistently ranking top receiver of foreign direct investment. The automotive and electronics sectors are the two main industrial sectors, and the manufacturing sector alone accounts for 17% of the country’s GDP. The electronics industry is one of the largest industrial sectors in Hungary, accounting for one-fifth of total manufacturing production. According to the latest figures by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office, industrial output grew by 5.1% in the first semester of 2022 compared to the same period one year earlier.

The services sector contributes 57% of GDP and employs almost 63% of the labour force. Trade, tourism and finance account for the largest share of activity and employment within the tertiary sector. In recent years the added value produced by the ICT sector increased by more than one-fifth, to USD 20 billion, with the digital economy currently making up more than 20% of Hungary's overall gross value added. The banking sector consists of 40 institutions: 21 commercial banks, 11 specialised credit institutions (mortgage banks, building societies, development and trade finance banks) and 8 foreign bank branches (European Banking Federation). Data by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office shows that in 2021 the services sector grew 5.9% y-o-y, showing a gross value-added increase of 11%.

Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector Agriculture Industry Services
Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment) 4.7 32.1 63.2
Value Added (in % of GDP) 3.4 24.3 57.0
Value Added (Annual % Change) -1.9 6.6 8.5

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.

Monetary Indicators 20162017201820192020
Hungarian Forint (HUF) - Average Annual Exchange Rate For 1 USD 281.52274.43270.21290.70308.00

Source: World Bank - Latest available data.



Foreign Trade

Hungary's economy is very open, with trade accounting for about 163% of GDP (World Bank, latest data available). Cars and the spare parts industry account for the highest share of exports and imports, followed by electric accumulators, telephones and monitors. Among the main imports, there are automotive parts, telephones, electrical energy and petroleum gas (Comtrade).

The European Union is by far the largest economic partner of Hungary, with Germany being the main trading partner for both imports and exports ( 23.8% of imports, 26.7% of exports). Italy is the second top destination for Hungarian goods (5.9%), followed by Romania (5.3%), Slovakia (5.1%), and Austria (4.5%). China is the second supplier of goods to Hungary (7.1%), followed by Austria (6.1%), Slovakia (5.9%), and Poland (5.7% - data by Comtrade).
Hungary's trade balance, which was traditionally in deficit, started posting surpluses in the last decade owing in particular to the good performance of the German economy. In 2021, the country’s trade balance was estimated at 0.3% of GDP by the World Bank (from 1.9% one year earlier). In the same year, exports of goods stood at USD 141.9 billion, roughly at the same level as imports (+17.9% and +23% year-on-year, respectively). As per services, exports reached USD 26 billion (+17.3%) against USD 20.2 billion in imports (+14.6%). The latest data published by the Central Statistical Office (KSH) shows that in January-September 2022, the value of exports amounted to EUR 20.5 billion and that of imports to EUR 14.2 billion. Compared to the same period in 2021, the value of exports increased by 27% and that of imports by 21%.

Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 107,519120,741120,590115,353141,973
Exports of Goods (million USD) 113,806124,705123,796120,311141,921
Imports of Services (million USD) 18,30320,71621,51017,61420,199
Exports of Services (million USD) 26,62829,81930,02822,23826,088

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20172018201920202021
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 165.2163.3160.8155.5162.8
Trade Balance (million USD) 1,896-2,629-4,099-1,477-5,288
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) 9,7666,9013,8363,095651
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change)
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 79.379.579.276.881.2
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 85.983.881.578.781.5

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20222023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change)
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change)

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

International Economic Cooperation
Hungary is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, European Union, OECD, G-9, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), ICC, Central European Initiative (CEI), WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates Hungary click here. International organisation membership of Hungary is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by Hungary can be consulted here.

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
Germany 25.2%
Italy 5.7%
Romania 5.3%
Slovakia 5.1%
Austria 4.5%
See More Countries 54.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
Germany 21.2%
Austria 7.2%
China 6.8%
Slovakia 6.7%
Poland 5.6%
See More Countries 52.6%

Source: Comtrade, Latest Available Data



Political Outline

Current Political Leaders
President: Katalin Novak (since 10 May 2022) - Fidesz
Prime Minister: Viktor Orban (since 29 May 2010) - Fidesz
Next Election Dates
Presidential: 2027
National Assembly: April 2026
Current Political Context
The right-wing Fidesz party and its leader Viktor Orban have been dominating the political scene in Hungary for the last 13 years. Election took place in April 2022 and saw a landslide victory for the Fidesz-KDNP party, which obtained 135 seats out of 199. The coalition United for Hungary secured a total of 57 seats, while 6 seats went to the nationalist party Our Homeland.
Katalin Novak – the former Minister for Family - from Fidesz was elected as the first female President in March 2022, with 137 votes against 51 votes for her opponent, the economist Peter Rona. She succeeded Janos Ader, who held the post since 2012.
Despite the challenging economic (rise in energy prices) and political (Russia-Ukraine war) situation, support for the Fidesz-KDNP party went back to levels seen before the elections campaign.
Main Political Parties
Hungary is a multi-party democracy largely divided between the conservative right and opposition, Unity Coalition. The three main parties/coalitions at the latest election were:

- Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Alliance (Fidesz): centre-right, nationalist, socially conservative, most popular party across all legislative districts
- United for Hungary: a big tent coalition formed by the following parties: Hungarian Socialist Party, Democratic Coalition, Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), LMP – Hungary's Green Party, Dialogue for Hungary and the Momentum Movement
- Our Homeland Movement (MHM): far-right, nationalist.

Other parties include:
- Christian Democratic People’s Party (KDNP): right-wing, propagates national conservatism; acts as a sister organisation of Fidesz
- Jobbik: initially far-right and anti-EU, the party has switched to more mainstream right political line
- Politics Can Be Different (LMP): centre, green-liberal, champions protection of the environment, supports sustainable development and aims to work against corruption
- National Self-Government of Germans in Hungary (MNOÖ): German-Hungarian interests
- Momentum Movement: centrist, liberal.
Executive Power
The President is the Chief of State and the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. The President is elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term). The Prime Minister is elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the President.
The Cabinet is a Council of Ministers elected by the National Assembly on the recommendation of the President; other ministers are proposed by the Prime Minister and appointed and relieved of their duties via the presidential elections.
Legislative Power
The Hungarian Parliament is unicameral. The National Assembly is composed of 199 members elected every four years and can either initiate new legislation or approve those introduced by the Government. Out of the total, 106 members are directly elected in single-member constituencies by simple majority vote and 93 members are directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by party-list proportional representation vote.


COVID-19 Country Response

Travel restrictions
Regularly updated travel information for all countries with regards to Covid-19 related entry regulations, flight bans, test and vaccines requirements is available on TravelDoc Infopage.
To find information about the current travel regulations, including health requirements, it is also advised to consult Travel Regulations Map provided and updated on a daily basis by IATA.
Import & export restrictions
A general overview of trade restrictions which were adopted by different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the International Trade Centre's COVID-19 Temporary Trade Measures webpage.
Economic recovery plan
The summary of the EU’s economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the website of the European Council.
For the general overview of the key economic policy responses to the COVID-19 outbreak (fiscal, monetary and macroeconomic) in Hungary, please consult the country's dedicated section in the IMF’s Policy Tracker platform.
Support plan for businesses
For an evaluation of impact of the Covid pandemic on SMEs and an inventory of country responses to foster SME resilience, refer to the OECD's SME Covid-19 Policy Responses document.
You can also consult the World Bank's Map of SME-Support Measures in Response to COVID-19.