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2003 OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2003 Issue 2

image of OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2003 Issue 2

This issue of the OECD Economic Outlook analyses the major trends that will mark the next two years. It  covers the outlook to the end of 2005 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. Three analytical chapters look at fiscal policy and its influence on economic activity, fiscal relations across levels of government, and  crubing the growth in government spending and raising its  cost effectiveness.

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Germany

Output fell in the first half of 2003, as exports declined sharply and domestic demand remained weak. While activity for the year as a whole is estimated to have stagnated, forward looking indicators signal that growth is likely to have picked up in the second half and into 2004 driven initially by strengthening exports. As activity broadens in 2005, GDP is projected to grow at above its potential rate, at some 2¼ per cent. The general government deficit is likely to exceed 4 per cent of GDP in 2003 and -- on current legislation -- will remain at around 3½ per cent in 2005. Expenditure reforms are required to reduce the structural deficit in a sustainable way. Income tax reductions should not be brought forward into 2004 without corresponding reductions in government spending and tax expenditures. Important steps have been taken towards implementing the government’s programme of labour market and social spending reform. These reform plans must not be watered down...

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