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VARGA SEES GDP GROWTH OF 4.6% IN 2018

 

Hungary’s economy is likely to grow by 4.6% this year, after the country posted a 4.9% growth rate in the first three quarters of the year, the finance minister said.

The public debt-to-GDP ratio is seen falling to below 72% from last year’s 73.3%, Mihály Varga told a press conference. The government’s plan is to reduce the public debt to 60% of GDP by 2022. It also wants the amount of government securities held by retail investors to double within the next five years, he said.

Varga said Hungary’s economy in 2018 grew at a rate not seen for two decades, noting that GDP increased by 5.2% in the third quarter. Growth has been lifted by consumption and investments. Consumption has been supported by wage gains while the investment rate exceeded 20%, he said.

Inflation continues to remain below 3% and thanks to the government’s disciplined fiscal policy, Hungary’s budget deficit as a percentage of GDP will remain below 2.4% this year, Varga said.

György Barcza, the head of the Government Debt Management Agency (ÁKK), said the ÁKK hopes to increase the amount of government securities held by retail investors by 800 billion forints (EUR 2.5bn) this year. In addition, the ÁKK plans to issue a bond targeted at Hungarians who want to save for retirement.