Finance Minister Magnus Brunner invites top economic researchers to exchange of ideas

Yesterday, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner invited Austrian economic researchers to the Ministry of Finance for an exchange of ideas. The discussion focused on the current economic situation in Austria, the labour market, inflationary developments, COVID-19 assistance and optimal preparation for facing the challenges of the coming months. The discussion participants were Gabriel Felbermayr, Director of the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), Lars Feld, incoming head of the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Christoph Badelt, President of the Austrian Fiscal Advisory Council, Tobias Thomas, Director of Statistics Austria, and Monika Köppl-Turyna, Director of Eco Austria.

"The coronavirus pandemic is not only a huge challenge to health and society, but also for the economy. For this reason, I invited a number of Austria's economic researchers to engage in an initial exchange at which we discussed key issues surrounding Austria as a centre of economic activity and, primarily, the outlook for the coming year. This dialogue with experts is essential for enabling political decisions to be made on the basis of sound statistics, data and projections. I wish to thank all participants for their valuable contribution," says Finance Minister Magnus Brunner.

Strong economic growth

The economic researchers are currently anticipating growth of approximately 4 % this year. This already takes account of the recent lockdown. In November, inflation in Austria stood at 4.3 %, while Germany and the USA reported significantly higher levels of inflation, at 5.2 % and 6.8 % respectively. "This year, in spite of lockdown, Austrian GDP growth will be higher than that of our neighbours, Germany and Switzerland. This shows how our potent economic assistance has made a vital contribution to protecting our domestic businesses and jobs. We will continue on this path," affirms Brunner.

Rating agency Moody's Rating also attests to Austria's effective economic handling of the crisis; the country's rating remains unchanged at Aa1, with a stable outlook. In its latest report, Moody's rates as positive the high quality of Austrian institutions and the swift response to the COVID-19 crisis using targeted measures.

COVID assistance to be continued, positive growth outlook

The exchange of ideas with economic researchers also focused on the assistance instruments provided by the Austrian federal government, such as loss compensation, turnover loss bonus and the hardship fund, as well as the budget path adopted and growth prospects. Other topics discussed included challenges faced by the care sector, in the context of ecological and digital transformation, and challenges faced by Austria as a centre of economic activity.

According to Finance Minister Brunner, "For 2022, the economic researchers predict growth of over 5 %. It is also gratifying to hear from the experts that our ecosocial tax reform will generate positive effects. As a federal government, we will continue on this path and do everything we can to successfully move the country forward in terms of health, society and the economy."

Photo credit: BMF/Wenzel