Heady growth will ease

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Driven by buoyant private business investment and household consumption, GDP growth reached nearly 12% at an annual rate in the first half of 2004 and should approach 10% for the year. Sentiment was fuelled further by positive signals on the possible opening of accession negotiations with the EU.
All in all, there has been a 25% cumulative increase in GDP since 2001. Growth is likely to slow to a more sustainable rate of around 6% in 2005 and 2006, with exports and domestic demand remaining robust.The authorities should adhere to their strict monetary and fiscal policies and fully implement their ambitious structural reform agenda, continuing to improve domestic and international confidence. Fiscal gains from strong growth should be devoted to public debt reduction in order to improve fiscal sustainability and rein in the growing current account deficit. Another weak spot is very slow job creation despite double-digit growth, though this has meant extremely strong labour productivity growth.
Population (000s), 200370 712
Area (000 sq km)781
GDP (Billion USD), 2003239.7
Life expectancy at birth (Women, Men), 2002 70.9, 66.2
Total labour force (000s), 200324 141
Government typeRepublican Parliamentary Democracy
Indicators% change unless otherwise indicated
GDP growth9.86.45.8
Consumer price index10.78.66.3
Short-term interest rate (%)22.514.712.5
Unemployment rate (%)9.510.010.5
Current account balance (% GDP)-5.2-4.5-3.8
Source: OECD© OECD Observer No 245, November 2004

Economic data


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