The Hungarian economy is returning to pre-pandemic levels say officials, according to foreign direct investment and employment figures published on Wednesday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Peter Szijjarto said Hungary broke "two great investment-related records last year, despite negative developments in the global economy.” 

"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 said. 

"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 for 680 billion forints," he went on to add. 

The Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister continued that competition for key investment opportunities was strong in 2021 as nations grappled to recover from the economic crisis fuelled by the pandemic. 

Szijjarto said that eastern countries are playing an ever more important role when it comes to investing: "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," he stated. Within this Eastern Opening policy, Hungary launched a commercial air cargo service in December between Budapest and Zhengzhou in China. 

In addition, Hungary’s employment rate stood at 3.7% in November last year, as per data from the country’s Central Statistical Office (KSH). 

"In the September-November 2021 period, the average number of unemployed persons was 177,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.6%," the office said.

"Hungary's labour market has left the coronavirus crisis behind," according to local business portal, Portfolio. "The employment rate was record high between September and November 2021, and unemployment fell to pre-pandemic levels for the first time." 

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