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Varga: Hungary’s GDP growth balanced, stable

The fresh fourth-quarter and full-year GDP data reflect balanced, stable growth, economy minister Mihály Varga said from Brussels today during an interview with public news television channel M1, in response to statistics released by the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH) today, state news agency MTI reported.

The minister reportedly said that industrial output, which grew by almost 10% in the last quarter, is the key factor behind the strong GDP growth figure.

Following 3.2% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2015, economic growth could be around 3% in the first quarter of 2016, Varga said, according to MTI. 

The minister told M1 that the structure of the economy has changed and that it is more balanced and growth is healthier, while industry is more dominant, he added.

Varga said the 8.1% construction sector output growth in December is due to the governmentʼs SME lending program and to government assistance provided to major investments. He said that, partly thanks to this, Hungaryʼs investment rate grew to exceed 21% of GDP in 2015, MTI reported. 

The expansion of the construction sector requires private investment as well, he said, referring to the governmentʼs recently extended family home building support program (CSOK). In addition to the demographic aspects, the program will be important in supporting economic growth, he said, according to the news agency.