OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2002 Issue 2
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OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2002 Issue 2

Twice a year, the OECD Economic Outlook analyses the major trends that will mark the next two years. The present issue covers the outlook to the end of 2004 and examines the economic policies required to foster high and sustainable growth in member countries. Developments in selected major non-OECD economies are also evaluated in detail.

In addition to the themes featured regularly, this issue contains four analytical chapters addressing the following important questions: the deterioration in budgetary positions in most OECD countries, raising the labour force participation of older workers,  the benefits that OECD countries could achieve from undertaking reforms to promote product market competition, and inflation rates in some of the larger, slow-growing economies have not declined sufficiently to offset higher rates elsewhere in the euro area.

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Growth has slowed to about 2½ per cent in 2002, essentially reflecting a slowdown of external demand as private consumption has remained robust and public consumption increased strongly. Falling food prices and an appreciating currency have contributed to a marked decline in inflation. The big drop in tourism receipts in the aftermath of recent floods can be expected to be reversed and the pace of expansion is projected to pick up in 2003 and 2004, following a broadening recovery in western Europe.

The fiscal policy stance has loosened excessively this year and should be tightened. International competitiveness has remained weak, despite strong disinflation and even though the authorities have managed to limit exchange-rate appreciation in the face of massive foreign direct investment inflows. A determined pursuit of structural reforms is needed to improve the performance of the domestically-owned corporate sector, increase trend productivity growth and bolster international competitiveness.

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