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Finance Minister: Coronavirus Impact on World’s Economy May Be More Severe than Human Footprint

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.10.

Hungary’s finance ministry is ready to protect the achievements of the country’s economy and growth advantage with additional policy measures, Mihály Varga, the finance minister, said on Tuesday.

At an event organised by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Varga said a prime objective would be to expand room for manoeuvre in economic policymaking and speed up competitiveness measures.

Further, the six-year tax and wage agreement and stability will be preserved, and efforts will continue to be made to attract investments, he said.

On the topic of the new coronavirus, Varga said its economic impact around the world may be more severe than its human footprint. Whereas the new virus combined with low commodity prices may partially benefit the Hungarian economy, the downside risks are not yet known, he added.

The minister said the budget had been drafted to withstand tough circumstances, but interventions to help economic players would be made if necessary.

“I’d like the economy this year to continue to be driven by consumption, wage flows and capital inflows,” he said.

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György Matolcsy, governor of Hungary’s central bank, told the same event that the long-term effects of the coronavirus were hard to predict, but its economic impact would last for several years.

“The stronger Hungarian economy means a stronger immune system,” he said. “Compared with many EU countries, Hungary’s economic resilience is stronger.”

Matolcsy, meanwhile, warned that the new coronavirus would affect all areas of the economy.

In the featured photo: Finance Minister Mihály Varga. Photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI