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Hungarian economy grows in Q1

May 18th, 2020

As the Central Statistical Office reports 2.2 per cent first quarter GDP growth, two conservative analysts ponder Hungary’s economic prospects and the return of growth after the coronavirus recession.

In Magyar Nemzet, Gergely Kiss takes Hungary’s first quarter GDP data as proof that the economy was in good shape before the coronavirus lockdown. The pro-government commentator recalls that Hungary’s growth rate has long been among the EU’s highest, and the economy grew faster than in most EU countries even in the first three months of 2020. Kiss points out, nonetheless, that since April much of the economy has been shut down and the GDP data in Q2 will be extremely poor. He welcomes the government’s programs including the moratorium on loan repayment, subsidies to businesses and plans to secure jobs for those Hungarians who lost their work as a result of the coronavirus epidemic. He is optimistic that these measures will allow fast recovery in 2021.

Magyar Hírlap’s Sándor Faggyas also finds the GDP data robust. The conservative analyst recalls that EU economies on average shrank by 2.6 per cent in the first three months of 2020, in light of which Hungary’s 2.2 per cent growth looks fast. As for the future, Faggyas is less optimistic, however. He suspects that Europe’s economy will not fully recover even in 2021, and it would be a great achievement if the Hungarian economy sank only by 3 per cent in 2020 – less than half Europe’s predicted average decline.

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