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Country Report Hungary September 2017

Country Report Hungary September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2557472
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the governing parties, led by the nationalist-conservative Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union (Fidesz), to win a third consecutive four-year term at the next election, due in April 2018.
  • We expect policy continuity under Fidesz, with the use of state measures to boost growth and hold down domestic utility prices. The emergence of sectoral labour shortages means that job creation is no longer a priority.
  • Given the ongoing threat posed by the far-right Jobbik party, Fidesz will maintain a tough nationalist stance and could shift further to the right. More clashes with EU institutions and foreign businesses are therefore likely.
  • To avoid EU sanctions, the government is set to continue prioritising keeping the budget deficit within the EU limit of 3% of GDP and reducing the public debt/GDP ratio, including by using sectoral taxes.
  • In 2016 real GDP growth slowed to 1.9%, from 3.1% in 2015. We forecast that, given election-related spending, growth will rebound to an average of 3.6% in 2017-18, before easing to an average of 2% in 2019-21.
  • After broadly stable prices in 2016, we forecast that inflation will accelerate to an average of 2.7% per year in 2017-18 as wages soar and private consumption expands, before slowing to an average of 2.3% per year in 2019-21.


  • In a ruling issued on September 6th the European Court of Justice (ECJ) dismissed Hungary's (and Slovakia's) challenge to the EU's decision in 2015 to relocate refugees now in Greece and Italy to other EU members.
  • Five days before the ECJ's ruling, Hungary asked the EU to pay for half the cost-around EUR440m (US$523m)-of the fence Hungary had installed on its southern border in 2015 to keep out refugees.
  • The European Commission indicated that it would contribute to the management of border controls but not for the construction of the fence.
  • In a visit to Hungary at the end of August by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, agreement was reached on starting work on the construction of two Russian-designed nuclear reactors at the Paks power station in early 2018.
  • In January-July the central government budget posted a cash flow deficit of Ft817bn (US$3.2bn)-a widening of 76% year on year.
  • Real GDP (seasonally and working-day adjusted) grew by 3.5% year on year in April-June, down from 3.8% growth in January-March; during the same period quarter on-quarter growth slowed to 0.9%, from 1.4%.
  • Inflation edged up to 2.1% year on year in July, from 1.9% in June.

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