More competition needed

Click on the globe for Key Economic Forecast & Indicators

Domestic demand sustained activity during the first half of 2004, but net foreign demand weakened. Inflation has risen due to the oil price shock leaving the positive differential with the euro area at around one percentage point.
Although some weakness can be expected in the short term because of the oil price hike, investment indicators have been recovering rapidly and point to a strong surge in demand. Economic activity should accelerate again to close to 3% over the projection period.Monetary conditions remain relaxed, while the budget for 2005 implies a broadly neutral fiscal stance. Reforms to raise competition in some sectors and to improve the wage bargaining system should be adopted with the aim of raising productivity growth and reducing the inflation differential with other countries.
Population (000s), 200341 874
Area (000 sq km)505
GDP (Billion USD), 2003838.6
Life expectancy at birth (Women, Men), 2002 83.1, 75.7
Total labour force (000s), 200318 822
Government typeParliamentary Monarchy
Indicators% change unless otherwise indicated
GDP growth2.62.73.0
Household savings ratio10.711.011.0
Consumer price index3.03.22.7
Short-term interest rate (%)
Unemployment rate (%)10.910.710.4
General government financial balance (% GDP)-1.1-0.1-0.1
Current account balance (% GDP)-4.2-4.7-4.8
Source: OECD© OECD Observer No 245, November 2004

Economic data


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