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Hungary to shore up battered economy with investments, tax cuts, PM says

When asked if the government would extend a job support scheme which expired a month ago, he said: “If there is a reason to do so we will do it but up till now we concentrate more on investment.”

The economy shrank 13.6% in annual terms in the second quarter, the deepest contraction on the EU’s eastern flank, and the recovery is expected to be slower than previously expected.

Asked about the forint currency, which dropped to five-month lows versus the euro this week prompting a surprise rate hike by the central bank on Thursday, Orban said the exchange rate was the central bank’s job.

“The National Bank is independent and I trust the national bank so it’s not my job, simply. It’s the policy of the national bank,” Orban said.

“If they create a strong one (forint), I have to adjust the economic policy to the strong one. If they create a weaker one I have to adjust to a weaker one.”

He also stood up for central bank Governor Gyorgy Matolcsy, a long-time ally, saying he enjoyed his full confidence.

“If you look at the figures of the Hungarian economy of the last several years, they are splendid, and it’s partly due to the national bank. Facts create trust.” (Writing by Krisztina Than, Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Angus MacSwan)

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