Spectacular expansion of investments continued

The growth rate of the Hungarian economy was noticeably lower in the second quarter of 2017 than in the first one, and it was one of the lowest in the CEE region. However, it still exceeded the EU average. The spectacular expansion of investments continued, and on this basis, GKI raised its GDP forecast for 2017 to 3.8 per cent. The trends are favourable in the short term; however, long-term solutions are still missing.

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GKI’s economic sentiment index remained close to its peak in August

GKI’s economic sentiment index reached its historic peak in July. It decreased slightly in August, within the statistical margin of error. According to the empirical survey conducted by GKI with the support of the EU, the business confidence index fell slightly in August over the previous month. However, consumer expectations increased a bit.

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Budgetary advance payment of EU transfers increased sharply

In Hungary, the faster than expected GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017 was followed by a slight slowdown in April and a pick-up in May. GDP growth is expected to accelerate to around 3.5 per cent in 2017 from 2 per cent in 2016, primarily as a result of investments rising this year, whereas they declined last year. Although external and internal equilibria will deteriorate slightly in 2017, and inflation will accelerate, these trends are acceptable in the short term.

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GKI economic sentiment index reached its historic peak in July

GKI’s economic sentiment index and the business confidence index have never been as high as now so far during its more than twenty years of history. According to the empirical survey conducted by GKI with the support of the EU consumer expectations deteriorated slightly compared to June, although they still reflect strong optimism.

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Forecast for 2017

The Hungarian economy grew by 4.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, by a rate not foreseen by anybody. A growth rate higher than this one has been recorded only once since 2007. This high rate was due in part to the low base. The Hungarian growth rate was much higher than the EU average; however, it was not outstanding in the CEE region. The growth rate in Romania and Slovenia was more than 1 percentage point higher than in Hungary, and the economic growth of Poland and the three Baltic countries was also more dynamic. Data indicate a deterioration in Hungary in April, and the fall in the performance of agriculture will be significant in 2017. The growth rate of consumption is expected to accelerate in 2017, whereas a sharp slowdown in investments can be anticipated. Therefore, GKI raised its growth forecast for 2017 from 3.2 per cent to only 3.5 per cent, although it is possible that the rate will be slightly higher. Although external and internal equilibria will deteriorate slightly, and inflation will accelerate, these trends are acceptable in the short term. It is important for the medium-term course of the Hungarian economy that after the German elections the deepening of the integration of countries willing to work in close cooperation will be on the agenda in the EU. This can push Hungary to the periphery of the EU. At the same time, Hungary will less likely be able to rely on EU transfers of crucial importance.

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