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Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Hungary’s economic growth exceeded economists’ forecasts in the third quarter, driven by agricultural output, boosting expectations the country may avert a return to recession next year.
Gross domestic product rose 1.4 percent from a year earlier, compared with 1.5 percent in the second quarter, the Budapest-based statistics office said in a preliminary report today. The median estimate of 15 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 0.8 percent. The economy expanded 0.5 percent from the second quarter, when growth was a revised 0.2 percent.
“Agriculture has become the engine of the economy,” statistician Peter Szabo told reporters today. “Industrial production also added about half a percentage point to growth but this was offset by plunging construction output.”
Hungary’s Cabinet is basing its 2012 budget on a growth forecast of 1.5 percent. The European Commission estimates 0.5 percent growth in Hungary next year. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is raising taxes and cutting spending next year to reduce the budget shortfall below the European Union’s 3 percent limit.
Hungary’s economy contracted 6.8 percent in 2009, the most since 1991. The country exited from its recession in the first quarter of 2010 and managed to post growth of 1.3 percent last year.
--Editors: Balazs Penz, James M. Gomez
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