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PM clarifies statement regarding inflation

The government is projecting an inflation rate of 5%-6% for 2007, slightly over 3% in 2008 and below 3% in 2009 and thereafter, Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány told wire service Reuters to clarify a statement he made yesterday. The premier said his words had been misinterpreted by the media as a warning that Hungary's CPI was unlikely to go below the 3% mark identified as one of the key Euro zone accession criteria in the Maastricht Treaty. In the meantime, the Financial Times quoted an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report that described the new Hungarian government's proposed budgetary constraints as a poorly designed plan lacking in credibility and unlikely to stop the country's burgeoning deficit. According to the IMF, Hungary will have a 10% budget gap this year and 7.5% in 2007, as opposed to the respective government forecasts of 9.4% and 6.1%. The organization also expects the country's internal debt to increase from last year's 62.3% (MH 11)