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2004 OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2004 Issue 2

image of OECD Economic Outlook, Volume 2004 Issue 2

OECD's December 2004 assessment of economic developments and prospects.  In addition to the regular economic assessments and statistical information, this issue includes articles examining oil price developments and savings behaviour and the effectiveness of fiscal policy.

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Euro Area

The recovery is facing headwinds because of higher oil prices and a recent renewed appreciation of the euro. Even so, spurred by still robust world trade, GDP should accelerate from a growth rate of just below 2 per cent in 2004 to 2½ per cent in 2006. This would not suffice, however, to fully absorb the economic slack and the unemployment rate would remain high at about 8½ per cent. Inflation is expected to recede once the impact of the oil price hike peters out. Monetary policy should be kept easy as long as the medium-term inflation outlook remains favourable. The closer integration that monetary union was seen as bringing has not yet translated into any visible strengthening of trend growth or increased dynamism. The structural reform agenda, required to move the euro area economy towards the ambitious targets set by the Lisbon summit in 2000, needs to be reinvigorated. Greater dynamism would also help in achieving fiscal consolidation and thereby make fiscal policy more consistent with the requirements stemming from ageing populations. ...

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