Hungary’s budget deficit, excluding local councils, was 2,604.2 billion forints (EUR 7.2bn) at the end of October, up 333.9 billion from a month earlier, the Finance Ministry confirmed in a detailed release of data.
The deficit has swelled this year because of pandemic defence spending, economic stimulus and pre-financing for European Union-funded projects. The central budget had a 2,140 billion forint deficit and the social insurance funds were 489.9 billion in the red, but the separate state funds had a surplus of 25.7 billion. The ministry said spending on medical equipment necessary for pandemic defence came to 593.3 billion forints by the end of October. Payouts for European Union-funded projects reached 1,642.0 billion forints, while transfers from Brussels came to just 997.4 billion. The government has been pre-financing EU-funded projects for years to avoid backups and ensure all available monies are used up.
“The government’s most important goal during the second wave of the pandemic is protecting human lives and maintaining the ability of the economy to function,” the ministry said. “Thus the central budget continues to ensure all necessary resources for health defence and economic protection measures.”