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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Real GDP growth decelerated further in 2002 to below ½ per cent, reflecting weak exports, sluggish private demand and cutbacks in government investment. A gradual export-led recovery is projected for 2003. By 2004, with private investment reviving, GDP growth could approach potential, at around 2½ per cent, but still leaving a large output gap. In this context, inflation is expected to ease, while remaining higher than the European Union average.

Fiscal consolidation will have to be pursued forcefully, despite the weak outlook, requiring strong measures to limit government spending, including tight control of the public payroll and structural reform in social spending areas.

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