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Hungary's economic competitiveness continues to decline in Q1 2009

Hungary's economic competitiveness and business climate continued to deteriorate during the first quarter of 2009, a recently published Microsoft Magyarorsz á g-supported survey from economic-research institute GKI reveals.

GKI reported that its VEX index of macroeconomic performance, labor productivity and competitiveness relative to expenditure dropped 1.7

% in Hungary in the first quarter of 2009 after declining 0.6% in the fourth quarter of 2008. GKI said that among other Central and Eastern European countries included in the survey, Poland's VEX index rose 1% and Romania's VEX index rose 0.9% in the first quarter of 2009, and fell in the other countries. The decline was the smallest in Hungary, while Austria's VEX index declined 2.3%, the Czech Republic's VEX index declined 2.7%, Slovenia's VEX index declined 4.9% and Slovakia's VEX index fell 7% during the period. GKI attributed the relatively moderate decline in Hungary's VEX index during the first quarter of 2009 to the weakening of the forint against the euro during the period and Hungary's relatively positive labor productivity.