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2004 OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2004 Issue 1

image of OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2004 Issue 1

OECD's June 2004 assessment of economic developments and prospects.  In addition to the regular economic assessments and statistical information, this issue includes articles examining whether housing and mortgage market arrangements explain different degrees of economic resilience shown by OECD economies, through what mechanisms the US external deficit could adjust, to what extent stock market gyrations and one-off measures distort traditional measures of the fiscal stance, and how structural reform could enhance income convergence in Central European countries.

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Belgium

Economic growth picked up sharply in the second half of 2003 and should reach 2½ per cent by 2005 as the international economy recovers and business investment strengthens. Unemployment is likely to peak in 2004 and inflation to fall to below 1½ per cent in 2005, reflecting low increases in unit labour costs. The government needs to slow the growth in primary expenditures so as to put public finances on a sustainable path and make room for the planned further labour income tax cuts. This should be complemented by social security reforms to increase work incentives, especially for older workers and the long-term unemployed...

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