International economic development still impedes growth in Central and Eastern Europe

The world wide economic slow down has increasingly affected the transition economies. Lower demand in Western Europe for exports from Central and Eastern Europe has depressed industrial production and growth in the region. Strong domestic demand has managed to offset some of the negative external influences. In total the countries in Central and eastern Europe will grow with 3,1 % in 2002 and with 4,1% in 2003. The higher growth in 2003 results from the combination of a continuing strong domestic demand and amore favourabel external environment, as the world economy starts to recover in the second half of 2002. Inflation will continue to slow, while unemployment decreases only marginally. Higher growth will also lead to higher current account deficits. The slowdown in 2001 has increased the risk potential for financial crises in Central and Eastern Europe. The forecast is build upon the assumption that no such crisis will occur, if a crisis does errupt the forecast will have to be revised downwards. The regular anlysis carried out by the IWH regarding the development of the risk potential, indicate particular high risks for Poland and to a somewhat lesser extent also for Hungary. As the unfavourable external economic conditions will persist for the coming months, a further increase in the risk potential can be expected.

27. February 2002

Authors Axel Brüggemann

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