OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2003 Issue 1
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OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2003 Issue 1

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 addition to the themes featured regularly, this issue contains five analytical chapters addressing the following questions: the telecommunications sector,  sources of divergence in growth trends among the major economies, recent patterns and developments in foreign direct investment,  and whether further trade and regulatory policy reforms would affect foreign direct investment flows and economic integration among OECD countries.

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The pace of activity has slowed in the face of weak exports, although domestic demand remains firm. Growth prospects are expected to brighten as the international situation improves and firms regain sufficient confidence to increase investment and hiring. Unemployment has drifted upwards but is still lower than its structural rate. Labour shortages could re-emerge as the expansion quickens, accompanied by accelerating wages.

With accommodating monetary conditions, the tax cuts planned for 2004 need to be accompanied by concrete measures to trim expenditure growth to avoid adding unhelpful stimulus to an economy already operating close to capacity. Further initiatives to get more people into work and reduce reliance on public benefits would help to ease these pressures.

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