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Confidence rises

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Export-led growth has resulted in a brisk economic upswing with GDP growth rates expected to exceed 4% in 2004 and the following two years. The trend rise in unemployment is likely to come to an end as of early 2005.
The confidence indicator for industry has gone up sharply since the middle of this year in response to a more favourable economic outlook. Consumer confidence is following the same upward trend. There is a risk that a stronger than expected appreciation of the euro exchange rate would temper export growth and inflation. But conversely, a stronger-than-projected recovery of world financial markets would boost financial service exports and overall growth.The government should take advantage of the economic upturn both to revise its spending programmes in line with more moderate medium-term growth prospects and to tackle structural unemployment.
Population (000s), 2003452
Area (000 sq km)3
CurrencyEuro
GDP (Billion USD), 200327.0
Life expectancy at birth (Women, Men), 2002 81.5, 74.9
Total labour force (000s), 2003302
Government typeConstitutional Monarchy
Indicators% change unless otherwise indicated
200420052006
GDP growth4.24.54.3
Consumer price index3.52.32.0
Short-term interest rate (%)2.12.12.7
Unemployment rate (%)4.24.24.2
General government financial balance (% GDP)-0.4-0.8-1.2
Current account balance (% GDP)8.810.611.1
Source: OECD© OECD Observer No 245, November 2004


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