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Announcement:

Moody's: Hungary's credit profile supported by diversified economy and reduced external vulnerability; high public debt remains a constraint

16 Nov 2017

London, 16 November 2017 -- Hungary's (Baa3 stable) credit profile is supported by its relatively diversified economy, significantly reduced external vulnerability and a government commitment to prudent fiscal policy, Moody's Investors Service said in a report today. The country's credit constraints include a public debt burden that remains well above those of similarly rated peers.

The annual update, "Government of Hungary -- Baa3 stable, Annual credit analysis", is now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link at the end of this press release. The research is an update to the markets and does not constitute a rating action.

"Hungary's sizeable current account surpluses have improved its resilience to future external shocks," said Evan Wohlmann, a Moody's Vice President -- Senior Analyst and co-author of the report. "In addition, its resilience to currency volatility has been helped by policies which have supported a sharp reduction in the foreign currency share of government debt."

Moody's expects Hungarian economic activity to remain buoyant through the current cyclical upswing, and forecasts GDP growth of 3.5% for 2017 and 3.1% for 2018.

Despite Hungary's current strong economic performance, its long-term growth prospects are constrained by several factors, including risks associated with the tightening labour market given acute skills mismatches and the country's strong reliance on European Union (EU) funds, which could potentially be smaller in the next EU funding cycle.

Hungary's moderate fiscal strength reflects years of deficit spending, which has resulted in a large government debt burden, which amounted to 73.9% of GDP in 2016. Ahead of parliamentary elections due in April 2018, Moody's expects increased uncertainty around the government's near-term fiscal policy. However, the authorities' commitment to maintain deficits below 3% will support a sustained, but gradual, reduction in the general government debt ratio in the coming years, reaching around 71% of GDP in 2018.

Upward pressure on Hungary's rating could stem from an improvement in the country's economic and fiscal metrics that results in a faster than expected reduction of the public debt burden closer to the median of similarly rated peers.

Structural reforms that stimulate private investment, improve non-cost competitiveness and boost potential growth in the economy would also be credit positive.

Conversely, downward pressure on the government's bond rating could arise following signs of a weakened policy commitment to contain the budget deficit or achieve primary surpluses to ensure a continued reduction in the debt burden.

In addition, the introduction of policy measures that would weaken the growth outlook, in turn threatening the downward path of the government's debt ratio, would also be negative.

Subscribers can access the report at: http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1095962.

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Evan Wohlmann
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Sovereign Risk Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Yves Lemay
MD - Sovereign Risk
Sovereign Risk Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service EMEA Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
© 2018 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

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