National Bank of Hungary (NBH) governor György Matolcsy took issue with a number of remarks Finance Minister Mihály Varga made at a meeting of economists at the weekend in a piece published on the business news website novekedes.hu. In a presentation at the 57th Itinerant Conference of Economists in Nyíregyháza, in north-eastern Hungary on Saturday, Varga said the Hungarian economy’s “golden age” was coming to an end due to an external slowdown.
Matolcsy wrote in novekedes.hu that the “golden age isn’t over, it’s just beginning … and will last for decades”. “We are capable of continuing seven years of stable convergence … Because we have found the recipe and creatively renewed the Hungarian model. Because, for us, politics is a competitive advantage, not a competitive disadvantage. Because we have combined the tools of the state and of the market, the conventional and unconventional solutions,” he said. Matolcsy disputed Varga’s supposition that the slowdown in Germany would spill over into Hungary, and he challenged the minister to pick an exchange rate for a “stable” forint, noting that the central bank has no exchange rate target.
“Why shouldn’t one doubt the words of a finance minister if they go against the desires of the nation and the plans of the government in office?” Matolcsy wrote.