Sustaining the recovery
The recession ended in the spring of 2005. Domestic demand has been stimulated by labour deepening, disinflation, fiscal ease and supportive monetary conditions.
Exports have benefited from euro depreciation and recovery elsewhere in the euro area, but imports are also rising markedly. The pass through of higher oil prices will limit the strength of the recovery in 2006, but as these effects dissipate, household consumption should support an acceleration of GDP in 2007.The sustainability of the recovery depends on reversing highly unfavourable trends in international competitiveness and public debt. In particular, real wage growth needs to be better aligned with productivity, while public spending must be restrained sufficiently to lower the tax wedge and restore the primary surplus. Service sectors should be opened to competition to boost productivity.
Population (000s), 200457 553
Area (000 sq km)301
GDP (Billion USD), 20041 677.9
Life expectancy at birth (Women, Men), 2003 82.9, 76.9
Total labour force (000s), 200424 365
Government typeRepublic
Indicators% change unless otherwise indicated
GDP growth0.21.11.5
Household savings ratio12.111.811.8
Consumer price index2.12.72.2
Short-term interest rate (%)
Unemployment rate (%)
General government financial balance (% GDP)-4.3-4.2-4.8
Current account balance (% GDP)-1.5-1.9-2.3
Source: OECD© OECD Observer, No. 252/253, November 2005

Economic data


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