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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Real GDP continued to grow strongly year-on-year in 2002, but slowed in the second half when both domestic and external demand weakened. Output growth is set to pick up again during 2003, driven by a recovery in foreign demand and strong investment growth. Inflation, though easing, is expected to remain above the euro area average, partly reflecting differences in cyclical positions. The current account deficit, which edged up to 6½ per cent of GDP in 2002, is projected to narrow gradually.

The necessary rapid reduction of the high debt-to-GDP ratio requires tighter control of primary government expenditure and greater efficiency in public sector administration. Recent steps to reform the social security and tax systems are welcome. Further structural reforms in the labour and product markets, including a more determined opening of network industries to competition, are essential for sustained non-inflationary growth.

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