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1 OMRI Daily Digest - 5 May 1995 (mind)  36 sor     (cikkei)
2 CET - 5 May 1995 (mind)  267 sor     (cikkei)

+ - OMRI Daily Digest - 5 May 1995 (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

NOTICE TO READERS: The OMRI Daily Digest will not appear on Monday, 8
May 1995, a Czech national holiday.

No. 88, 5 May 1995

HUNGARIAN INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION. Figures issued by the Central
Statistical Office on 4 May show that Hungary's industrial output in
February fell by 5.4% compared with January but was up 10.2% on February
1994, Western news agencies reported. Total output was worth $2.326
billion at current prices, and sales totaled $2.257 billion in February,
up 9.8% on the previous February. Since last February, the output of the
machine and metallurgy industries have increased by 40% and 18%,
respectively. Exports grew by 36.7%, with 72% and 52% increases in
industrial machinery and metallurgy exports. -- Edith Oltay, OMRI, Inc.

[As of 12:00 CET]

Compiled by Jan Cleave

A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.

+ - CET - 5 May 1995 (mind) VÁLASZ  Feladó: (cikkei)

Friday, 5 May 1995
Volume 2, Issue 87


  Romanian Prime Minister Nicolae Vacaroiu plans to reshuffle his
  cabinet today.  The move is intended to reward small parties
  in what, in effect, is a coalition government, specifically
  the nationalist Romanian National Unity Party, the anti-
  semitic Greater Romania Party and the neo-communist Socialist
  Labor Party.  Last August, Vacaroiu rewarded the National
  Unity Party with two cabinet posts.  Today's reshuffle should
  allocate some relatively junior positions, like culture and
  sports portfolios, to the other parties.  Western diplomats
  have said Romania's efforts to align itself with the European
  Union and NATO could be jeopardized if the National Unity
  Party gains any more power.  The party presents itself as
  moderate, but its leader, Gheorghe Funar, has been outspoken
  in his attacks on Romania's large Hungarian minority.


  Russia plans to export almost 18.5 billion cubic meters of
  natural gas on behalf of the state this year under
  inter-governmental agreements.  The exports include 3 billion
  cubic meters for Turkey, 2 billion for Hungary, 3.5 billion
  for Germany, 2.5 billion for Poland, 2.4 billion for the Czech
  Republic and Slovakia, and 3.34 billion for Bulgaria.  A
  further 1.67 billion cubic meters will be delivered to the
  Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania as payment for
  gas transit across their territories.  The export
  announcement, published in the government's daily bulletin,
  confirmed gas export tariffs of two ECUs a ton from January of
  this year.  Previous gas export tariffs were 0.5 ECUs per ton.
  The state-controlled Gazprom company accounts for more than
  90 percent of Russia's natural gas output, which totalled 617
  billion cubic meters in 1993. It exports about 100 billion
  cubic meters of gas a year, mainly to Germany, Italy, France,
  the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

  The head of Hungary's State Bank Supervision (SBS) has defended
  a government injection of $99.17 million into Budapest Bank,
  saying the move was a one-off consolidation.  The government
  came to power last year on a platform that promised an end to
  costly bank consolidation.  News of the large injection, which
  is equivalent to over two-thirds of the bank's registered
  capital, comes at a politically sensitive time following the
  government's March announcement of a tough austerity package
  that will sharply cut social spending.  No other state bank
  has received such a large subsidy.  The aim is to return the
  money to the state's coffers once the bank is privatized, but
  potential buyer, Credit Suisse, said in March it wasn't
  interested in taking a stake.  Dutch ING Bank has said it's
  still talking to Hungarian authorities about the bank, one of
  Hungary's largest.

  Banca de Credit Pater has become the first Hungarian-owned bank
  to win an operator's license in Romania.  The new bank, which
  has $5 million capital and is 99.9 percent owned by Budapest
  Bank, plans to operate in the Romanian inter-bank market and
  help finance trade between the two countries.  In the first
  quarter of this year Romanian exports to Hungary amounted to
  $32.7 million, while imports from Hungary stood at $55.8


  By Liane Thompson

  As foreign investment makes its way into Hungary, so too do a
  variety of cultures.  English, German and American natives can
  be found just about everywhere.  But while these nationalities
  keep a high profile, others choose not to.  The Chinese have
  brought business and Asian culture to Hungary, but in a less
  intrusive manner.

  It may sound like Pavorotti, but it's not.  This opera singer
  isn't even Italian, he's Chinese.  Min Cheng is one of almost
  15,000 Chinese nationals living in Hungary.  Many who come
  here open restaurants.  In fact, there are 50 chinese
  restaurants in Budapest.  Min, who used to sing opera in
  China, went one step further.  He and his wife Tien-you opened
  a restaurant/theater in Budapest a couple of years ago.  The
  Artist's Restaurant offers a place for the talented, be it
  Chinese or Hungarian, to perform what they know best.
  According to Tien-you their unique business sets them apart
  from other Chinese who come here.

  "We are always pushing the arts which is quite different from
  other Chinese here who are doing business.  Our goal is not
  the same."

  Those who are more concerned about the bottom line enter the
  import-export market.  Some 5,000 Chinese have licenses to do
  business here.  Two-thirds of them sell clothing.  Forty-
  year-old Gao Shimei has lived in Hungary for two years.  She
  sells clothes, caps and handkerchiefs at Budapest's Konbanyi
  market, what the Chinese call the 'Four Tigers' market.
  Shimei said she can make more money selling her small items in
  Budapest than in China.  A package of three handkerchiefs goes
  for $2, whereas in China it would cost $0.40.  But Shima said
  not everyone is happy about this, especially Hungarians.

  "Chinese things aren't very expensive, and there are a lot,
  which frightens Hungarians and they feel threatened."

  That feeling is reflected in a strengthening of Hungarian
  immigration laws, which has had an impact on those seeking to
  set up shop here.  Shimei said it's getting more difficult to
  get the necessary visa to remain in Hungary.  While most
  Chinese here are law-abiding, international Chinese gangs have
  started to arrive.  Police have even begun teaching the
  Chinese language to a few officers.  Dr. Simon Laszlo is the
  director of the Hungarian Police Academy.  He said organized
  crime is becoming a problem, but adds that this type of crime
  is on the rise all over the world.  Laszlo said Budapest is
  now a battleground for revenge.

  "Ukranians and Chinese are killing their enemies here, shooting
  and stabbing them."

  However, Chinese gang law prohibits hurting members of the host
  country.  If this law gets broken, death is usually the
  punishment.  But for the most part, Chinese people live
  peacefully.  There are less than three dozen crimes a year in
  Hungary involving Chinese.  Most who come here are not looking
  to break the law, but searching for a better life in a new
  land.  And for them, there's always a piece of China to be
  found in Budapest.


  By Nancy Marshall

  Hungary's languishing privatization bill would streamline the
  privatization process by merging the government's two
  privatization organizations, the State Property Agency (AVU)
  and the State Holding Company (AV), into a new body called the
  State Privatization and Holding Company (APV).  The
  legislation would also give Finance Minister Lajos Bokros much
  more influence over the privatization process and concentrate
  remaining state assets in the hands of the APV.  The bill sets
  out which assets should stay in government hands and what
  parts of other companies, like utilities, should be sold off.
  The Hungarian government is hoping the legislation would clear
  the way for sales of major stakes in electricity and gas
  utilities this year and more of its partially privatized
  telecommunications network.  But the legislation has been held
  up by the opposition in Parliament and trade unions.  Gustav
  Bienerth is the managing partner at Price Waterhouse in
  Budapest.  He said union leaders are most worried about job

  Bienerth:  What they perceive, it might be correct or
  incorrect, is that the inevitible first effect of speeded up
  privatization is that the number of employees and inevitibly
  unemployment will increase.

  CET:  What is the Socialist party and specifically the Prime
  Minister Gyula Horn doing to try and get the trade unions to
  cooperate and support the privatization bill?

  Bienerth:  That's a very substantial issue within the Socialist
  Party and I don't have the information.  But one thing is
  clear, the coalition government and the Socialist party as the
  main factor within the government crossed the Rubicon on March
  12.  The new Minister of Finance and the new so-called 'Bokros
  package' put down specific issues.  They've decided how to
  decrease budget deficits, what measures to take to be able to
  service the foreign debt.

  CET:  What is the delay in passage of the privatization bill
  doing to foreign investor confidence and interest in Hungary?

  Bienerth:  I think the importance of bill is overestimated.
  It's not the bill which will decide whether privatization will
  go on or not in Hungary.  The privatization will go on, the
  budget includes $1.5 billion in privatization income, you have
  to privatize to achieve that.  Looking back to 1989 and the
  privatization process in Hungary, it's clear that the world's
  interest in the region is shifting away.

  CET:  In Hungary or Central Europe?

  Bienerth:  I'm talking about the region, Central Europe.  Mainly
  the countries in forefront, like Poland, the Czech Republic and
  Hungary.  It is clear that the historical opportunities aren't
  there today as they were 1989 and the government realized that
  the time factor has become crucial in the privatization
  process.  More and more delay of privatization will devalue
  assets which we intend to privatize.  So the overall
  environment of the region and Hungary's position in it and the
  global considerations of region aren't in favor of delaying
  privatization process.  The devaluation of assets has taken
  place in past five or six years.


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A tovabbterjesztest a New York-i szekhelyu Magyar Emberi Jogok
Alapitvany tamogatja.

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Reposting is supported by Hungarian Human Rights Foundation News
and Information Service.