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Hungary to wean itself off IMF funding, says finance minister

As investors' appetite for risk grows and confidence in Hungary improves, the plan is for the country to try to wean itself off financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Finance Minister Péter Oszkó said in a radio interview late Tuesday.

“At the moment, Hungary can confidently finance itself from the market,” Oszkó said, adding that investors' increased willingness to take risks played a role, as did improved investor confidence in Hungary, as the country created financial stability and continued a disciplined budget policy.

Depending on the run of its IMF financial support package, Hungary could issue a foreign bond in the first half of 2010, Oszkó said. “It is unlikely that there will be another eurobond issue in this calendar year,” he added.

Next year's budget envisions HUF 400 billion in spending cuts, Oszkó said. This year's budget revenue will meet the target, although it is hard to give projections for revenue from corporate tax and local business tax before the end of the year, he added. This year's budget is a disciplined one, but it is a problem that health care spending in the first half exceeded that in the same period a year earlier, he said.

Oszkó said it would be good for Hungary to meet the conditions for joining the eurozone as soon as possible, because adopting the single currency would have a big effect on the country's financial stability and its competitiveness.

The government wants to submit a bill to Parliament that would make the country's financial market watchdog more independent, he said. (MTI-Econews)