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Orbán augurs ʼbrutalʼ macro data for April, but improvement in May

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said April macroeconomic data would be "brutal", but projected an improvement in May and June in a weekly interview on public radio on Friday, according to a report by state news wire MTI.

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Commenting on data released Thursday showing a significant drop in industrial output in March because of shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic, Orbán said "worse is yet to come".

"The April data, theyʼll be brutal," he told Kossuth Rádió.

He noted that the pandemicʼs negative impact on the economy was limited in March, starting only around March 10, but the effect would be present for the full month of April.

"The May data will be bad, too...but they will be better than the April data; and the June data, with some divine intervention, will be much better than the May data or the April data," he said.

Orbán reiterated a pledge to create as many jobs as have been lost because of the coronavirus crisis and said the cabinet had discussed a state job creation program on Wednesday. Orbán said he had instructed the interior minister and the finance minister to double the number of fostered workers to 200,000.

"If that target is met, weʼll raise it further," he added.

He said the Army had started a more intensive recruitment campaign and state-owned companies had been instructed to give temporary contracts to new hires.

Orbán said budget funding "in the thousands of billions of forints" would be necessary for the recovery of the economy, stressing a focus on job creation by supporting investments and developments.

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