Hungary punches above her weight

What is the significance of the Hungarian election for the world?

 

Five years ago, well before the so-called “refugee crisis” of 2015, I posted about the Orbanization of Europe and the “Hungarian disease”. That was  when it became obvious that the “Politically Correct liberal” status quo in the world is being threatened and  Hungary could be in the very epicentre of the global change which could destroy PC-liberalism.

Then came 2015 when, using the words of the left-liberal political site Politico,  which named PM Orban as Number One among those “who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”,  and Hungary really started “punching above her weight”, using their words again.

Foreign Policy, an influential American  neolib/con journal wrote this in 2016:

Orban’s populist intuition has enabled him to set the political agenda far beyond Hungary. Despite being one of the EU’s newer and poorer members, his country has punched above its weight.

Then this global political change reached the USA and President Trump was elected last year.  Viktor Orbán was the only Western leader who endorsed Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton.  If you look at the comment sections of  neolib-neocon media like The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Yahoo, The Economist, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. then you will see that a very significant number of their readers sharply reject the false picture their articles draw about Hungary and PM Orbán.  I would risk to say even that PM Orbán has reached a kind of political stardom in the West.

Look East“, suggested a leading French journalist and political thinker in the influential French newspaper Le Figaro a few days ago.

Orbán has invented the theory of illiberalism which he contrasted with liberalism but not with market economy. … This confrontation between liberalism and illiberalism, between ‘the rule of law’ and democracy, will be the main controversy in Europe. … The theory of illiberalism, which was born in Hungary, has spread all over Central Europe…  and this Hungarian theory may be the big chance for the French Right as well.

A popular British newspaper wrote that  “Hungary is a bigger threat to EU than Brexit. How Orbán’s victory could topple Brussels“.  Though I consider this more like a click-bait, I still think there’s a grain of truth in it.  The truth is that Orbán doesn’t want to dismantle the EU.  He wants to change Europe, and the European Union, for the better. He wants to destroy PC-liberalism which, as he said,  is suicide for the West.

As far as Hungarian domestic politics is concerned, with his third landslide election victory, Orbán has become the most successful Hungarian politician of all times. Only the political record of PM István Tisza from the early 20th century comes close  but  Tisza certainly didn’t make an impact in international politics.

One could definitely conclude almost five years after that blog post that  Europe is being “Orbanized” undoubtedly and the “Hungarian disease” is spreading indeed.  Actually it’s spreading even outside Europe. 🙂

What is even more encouraging is that the Orbán’s reply to his spectacular political success was  Soli Deo gloria.

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More news about Hungary’s improving economy

There was a very strong demand for Hungary’s T-bonds on yesterday’s  auction and this prompted the State Debt Management Agency to increase the issuance.  At the same time the bond yields were three to twelve basis points lower than at the previous auction held a fortnight ago.

Hungary’s construction industry output showed  a whopping 28.3% year-on-year growth in February.

Construction industry output

The industrial output was 8.1%  higher in February than a year earlier.  The month-on-month growth was 1.6%.

The gross average monthly wages in Hungary were 1.7% higher in February than a year earlier. Excluding those employed in public work programmes , the figure shows an increase of 6.9 percents!  The monthly gross wages averaged HUF 240,000 per month, 5.2% up year-on-year, in the private sector alone.

Pre-tax wages

Hungary’s inflation was flat at 0.1% year-on-year in March and it’s yet another  “surprise to the downside”.  The “market’s call” was for a 0.3% CPI. Core inflation measures declined again which confirms the absence of underlying price pressures.

 

Inflation rate

 

The central bank continued with their cutting the base rate which is at a historic low of 2.6% now.  Let’s note that the base rate was 7% when Hungary could get rid of bank chairman András Simor, a neoliberal/postcommunist stooge of the IMF. BTW, Hungary’s international reserves jumped to a new 2.5-year high at 36196.70 EUR millions.

 

Base rate

 

Hungary’s  balance of trade surplus jumped to EUR 766 million in February from EUR 482 m in January.  The surplus was EUR 118 million higher in annual terms than a year before.   Exports and imports (in EUR) increased by 5.0% and 3.5%, respectively in February, 2014 compared to the February of 2013.

 

Balance of trade

By December 2013 – February 2014, the number of unemployed people decreased by 123 thousand to 379 thousand over one year, and the unemployment rate diminished by 3.0 percentage points to 8.6%.

Unemployment rate

 

Employment in Hungary is at an all time high. The number of employed people was 4,053 thousands in February which is 236 thousand more than a year ago. The employment rate of people aged 15-64 increased to 60.4%.

Employment time series

 

Those London economists are surprised on the upside at the GDP growth  yet again.  JP Morgan revised their forecast for this year to 2.5%. Capital Economics expects 3.5% GDP growth and they write:

What’s more, the recovery seems to be broad based. Not only are export-led industrial sectors improving on the back of stronger demand from the euro-zone, but consumer spending is also staging a (long-awaited) recovery

This is the latest (2013Q4) figure, compared with other countries:

GDP growth in Europe

 

In the meantime the three big credit rating agencies carefully keep Hungary’s bonds in the junk bond category and economic newspapers like Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, etc. are all whining about Hungary’s autocratic tendencies, anti-Semitism and what have you.    In the meantime  The Jerusalem Post asked in their usual “Nazi Hungary” editorial that

Why would Hungarians support a party and a prime minister that legislate policies that hurt their weak economy ?

I think the above economic figures themselves give a good answer . Though I doubt very much indeed that the author(s) of  the Jerusalem Post editorial  wouldn’t have known these facts otherwise.

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