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OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2009

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Austria 2009

This 2009 edition of OECD's periodic survey of Austria's economy includes chapters on the financial crisis, product and labour market reforms, and fiscal policy challenges. The special feature examines re-inventing the education system.

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Assessment and recommendations

Austria’s economic expansion came to a halt with the global financial crisis which erupted in the summer of 2007 and intensified in the autumn of 2008. However, till end–2008, the downturn proved less abrupt than in most other high-income euro area countries. Private consumption and investment held up better, as did exports, notably to Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). International contagion first took the form of general tensions in the financing of banks and a tightening of economy-wide credit conditions. In response, the authorities put in place measures to bolster banks’ liquidity and capital, and the confidence of depositors and creditors. The ongoing slump in world trade is the second channel through which global weakness is affecting Austria, where exports amount to some 60% of GDP. Coupled with the financial-sector uncertainties, and with the expectation of shrinking domestic employment, this foreshadows subdued spending by households and enterprises. Against this backdrop, and despite significant policy action, Austria is projected to experience its deepest and most protracted recession since the mid– 1950s, with unemployment rising sharply, albeit with a lag.

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