Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hungary's Economy

Since I'll be in Hungary for the next three and a half months, here are some facts about its economy:
  • Hungary has a GDP per capita of $14,900 (PPP), about 37% that of the United States.
  • Hungary has much less income inequality that then United States. Its lowest 10% receive 4.1% of GDP and its highest 10% receive 20.5%, compared to 1.8% and 30.5% in the US.
  • 8.6% of Hungarians are below the poverty line, whereas 12% of Americans are.
  • If I had gone to Hungary four years ago, I could have gotten 286 forints (ft) for my dollar, now it's about 200 ft. The forint is currently pegged to the Euro in a +/- 15% band.
  • Hungary underwent shock therapy from 1990-1994, resulting in a loss of 18% of GDP. Since 1997 GDP has been growing at between 3%-5% per year. Growth has been driven largely by machinery exports.
  • Inflation has been steadily decreasing from around 14% in 1997. CPI inflation is forecast to be 4% in 2005.
  • Hungary has large deficits, forecast to be around 4.7% of GDP in 2005 (down from 9.4% in 2002.)

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