The Hungarian economy grew faster than expected, by 4.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2018, and such quarterly rate has been unprecedented for thirteen years. The Hungarian GDP growth rate according to the EU methodology was more than double the EU average in the first three quar-ters of 2018, one of the fastest in the CEE region. This is certainly the zenith; the growth rate will slow down.
After a GDP growth rate of 4.8 per cent in the third quarter, which was one of the fastest rate in the EU, GKI, similarly to other forecasters, raised its GDP forecast, too (to 4.5 per cent). At the same time, GKI maintains its expectation of slowing down to 3.2 per cent in 2019. The reason for this is that the stimulating effects of EU transfers is decreasing, global economic growth is precarious, and there is still no prospect of improving competitiveness. Inflation is accelerating in 2018, and external and internal equilibria are deteriorating. In this regard, no change can be expected in 2019 either.
GKI’s economic sentiment index remained essentially unchanged in November. Business expectations continued to improve, whereas consumer ones declined further. The business confidence index is around its yearly average now. Although the consumer confidence in-dex is close to its lowest point this year, it continues to reflect optimism.
In October, the GKI real estate indices for Budapest and Hungary stood at 11 and 7 points respectively. Budapest index rose by 5, the national index rose by 4 points compared to the previous survey. The capital index went up 11 points, the other one rose by 7 points, compared to the survey made one year earlier.
While most forecasters project a GDP growth rate of 4-4.5 per cent for 2018, they—with the exception of the government—expect only 3-3.5 per cent for next year. (GKI projects at least 4.2 per cent this year, and only about 3.2 per cent next year.) The rate of increase in investments financed by EU transfers and in household consumption, boosted by the elections as well, is expected to slow down. In addition, the trends in European business activity are also uncertain. For the time being, fiscal and monetary policy is loose. Relations between Hungary and the EU are tense.