Hungary’s economy returning to pre-pandemic levels: minister

Figures on foreign direct investment and employment published here on Wednesday indicate that Hungary’s economy is returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Hungary broke “two great investment-related records last year, despite negative developments in the global economy,” Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

“Agreements were reached to bring a total of 1,886 billion forints (5.9 billion U.S. dollars) worth of investment to Hungary through the investment incentive scheme, which has never been seen before,” Szijjarto wrote.

“The record for the largest greenfield investment in Hungary ever was also broken: SK Innovation from South Korea is building a battery plant in Ivancsa (central Hungary) for 680 billion forints,” he wrote.

Szijjarto explained that competition for major investment opportunities was particularly fierce last year as the countries were all eager to find ways out of the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Szijjarto, the eastern countries are playing an increasingly important role in the investment world.

“Back in 2010, Hungary launched its economic strategy called Eastern Opening, thanks to which we have been able to attract investments from large eastern companies based in western Europe,” Szijjarto wrote.

As part of its Eastern Opening policy, in mid-December, Hungary launched a commercial air cargo service between Budapest and Zhengzhou in China using a wide-body Airbus A330-200 freighter.

Also on Wednesday, Hungary’s Central Statistical Office (KSH) said that the country’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in November 2021.

“In the September-November 2021 period, the average number of unemployed persons was 177,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent,” it said.

“Hungary’s labor market has left the coronavirus crisis behind,” the local business portal Portfolio commented. “The employment rate was record high between September and November 2021, and unemployment fell to pre-pandemic levels for the first time.” (1 U.S. dollar = 31.30 forints)