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Country Forecast Hungary July 2018 Updater

Country Forecast Hungary July 2018 Updater

  • July 2018
  • ID: 1697723
  • Format: PDF


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  • The governing coalition, led by the nationalist-conservative Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz), won a landslide victory at the April 2018 parliamentary election. The Economist Intelligence Unit expects that Fidesz and its leader, Viktor Orban, will continue to dominate the Hungarian political scene for another four years.
  • The ruling parties' electoral success was the result of the government's populist anti-immigrant campaign, a fragmented opposition, strong economic performance and a largely pro-government media. We expect Hungary's relations with the EU to remain combative, as the new government will continue to defy EU institutions by pursuing illiberal policies.
  • We expect policy to continue broadly along the same lines as in 2010-17. The government will focus on boosting economic growth through state measures and easing the burden on households through consumption tax cuts and utility price stability, using sectoral taxes to support the fiscal position.
  • We forecast that, owing to election-related expenditure, the budget deficit will widen to 2.6% of GDP in 2018, from 2% in 2017, before easing to an annual average of 2.1% of GDP in 2019-22 as fiscal consolidation is resumed from 2019.
  • Real GDP growth picked up to 4.2% in 2017, from 2.1% in 2016, and we forecast that it will remain resilient in 2018, at 4%. We expect the rebound in investment to continue in 2018-19 as more projects funded by the 2014-20 EU budget come on stream. We forecast that private consumption will make a smaller contribution to growth after 2018, but export growth will hold up well. We forecast that growth will slow to an average of 2.2% in 2019-22, owing to fiscal tightening, weaker import demand growth in the euro zone, capacity constraints in the economy and continuing population decline.
  • Average inflation picked up to 2.3% in 2017, from 0.4% in 2016, and we expect it to accelerate in 2018 and to peak at 2.9% in 2019 as private consumption expands, before easing to an average of 2.5% per year in 2020-22.
  • The current-account surplus shrank to the equivalent of 2.7% of GDP in 2017, from 6% of GDP in 2016, owing to higher world oil prices and strong import demand. We forecast that as these trends broadly continue, the current-account surplus will fall to an average of 2% of GDP per year in 2018-22.

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