Success on top of success: How György Matolcsy sees the situation in Hungary

I will not be at all original today. I was so intrigued by a compilation of announcements by the National Economic Ministry (Nemzetgazdasági Minisztérium) from January to December that I thought I would share the list. I really want to be the bearer of good news.big grin

The cartoon below illustrates how at least some Hungarians feel about the government’s communication.

First you have to exercise self-criticism (see 2/4 entry)

They have definite ideas about Viktor Orbán’s truthfulness as well. One ought to read these success stories in that light.

January 14. The New Széchenyi Plan will be the answer to the challenges facing the country and it will ensure sustainable economic growth.

January 24. There will be great opportunities for Hungarian companies in Sri Lanka.

February 4. We expect self-criticism from the IMF. Its economists were completely wrong about the numbers in the 2010 budget. In addition, they called the liquidation of private pension funds “nationalization” when 97% of investors in these funds decided to switch to the state pension fund on their own volition.

February 9. More people want to work in Hungary.

March 4. Close to 700,000 families enjoy the advantages of the new system of taxation.

March 11. A new era for greater economic growth began in Hungary.

April 6. 17,500 new jobs in the auto industry thanks to the decisions of the government.

April 8. Hungary is on the road to success. The Hungarian reforms are in accord with the recommendations of the OECD.

April 18. The Germans appreciate the Hungarian government’s efforts at reform.

April 28. 250 new jobs in Ózd.

May 4. Stronger ties with South America.

May 13. Here is the turning point. Hungarian economic growth at a four-year high.

May 18. The number of jobs in the private sector has been growing rapidly.

May 31. Increase in the manufacturing industry. Economic growth accelerates.

June 2. Record trade surplus. Rapidly growing exports.

June 3. New jobs will be created as a result of negotiations between the government and Jabil Circuit Kft. in Tiaszaújváros.

June 8. Widening economic relations with Indonesia.

June 15. Hungarian industry performed best in the region.

June 17. The number of employed grew again.

June 27. Strategic opening toward Saudi Arabia.

June 30. Record trade surplus. Change in foreign trade relations.

July 7. We managed to avoid bankruptcy thanks to our successful policies. It took only a year to bring the country back from the edge of bankruptcy.

July 14. It will be easier from September on. The administrative burdens of companies will decrease. The changes will result in a 400 billion forints savings.

July 26. Highest monthly growth recorded since January in the retail trade.

July 28. More and more people are working. The rate of employment is 55.8%.

August 3. Dynamically growing trade surplus.

August 19. The number of workers in the private sector has grown. Salaries are also growing.

August 24. In the region the Hungarian retail trade has slowed the least.

August 24. Hungary’s falling behind the European Union average has stopped.

August 29. The number of employed people in Hungary is steadily growing.

August 31. In one year the investment in the manufacturing industry has grown by 20%.

September 2. Record surplus in foreign trade transactions in the first six months.

September 15. Growth in industrial production in every region of the country.

September 28. Employment has been dynamically growing all through the year.

October 3. Again a record surplus in foreign trade.

October 18. The government significantly lowered the country’s sovereign debt.

October 21. Next year’s deficit projections are well established and can be achieved.

October 28. The tendency is unbroken: in the last year employment has been growing.

November 3. A significant positive change in foreign trade.

November 10. Hungary won the first battle. A prognosis by the European Council that Hungary’s deficit will be less than 3%.

November 11. The government disagrees with the opinions of Fitch. The 2012 budget figures will be held and sovereign debt will be lowered.

November 17. Hungary at the turning point. In the last year and a half we put the Hungarian economy on new foundations. To this end we had to sever all the old types of cooperation that restricted our economic independence. Now we have achieved this goal. The age of renewal is closed and the era of growth has arrived.

On the same day the government announced that it is turning to the IMF to negotiate a “safety net.” 

November 18. Wages have increased again.

November 25. Moody’s evaluation of the Hungarian economy lacks any basis. Hungary considers Moody’s move part of a concerted financial attack on the country.

November 28. The employment rate is the highest in three years.

November 30. The performance of the manufacturing industry is still outstanding.

December 8. The financial burden of entrepreneurs is lighter by 400 billion forints.

December 9. The Hungarian GDP in the third quarter is higher than the European Union average.

December 19. Hungary’s sovereign debt is decreasing.

December 22. S&P’s decision on Hungary’s credit rating is not about Hungary but about the euro crisis.

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And the band played Nearer, My God, to Thee…


Here is another song from the two journalists of Index with subtitle. This is the video why they were kicked out of parliament.


can´t stop laughing 😀
Fantastic list! Thank you.


Ron – excellent!! No wonder they got banned from Parliament!
It’s astounding (and very cheering) that Orbán’s nascent dictatorship is such an ineffective cock-up that they couldn’t prevent this being made.
It’s on my Facebook page and being emailed to all my Anglo-Hungarian contacts. I suggest we all do the same. If ever something deserves to go viral, this is it!


These guys are like Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf the Iraqi propaganda minister. When the American tanks were rolling in Baghdad the fellow was still repeating things like “My feelings – as usual – we will slaughter them all” or “They’re coming to surrender or be burned in their tanks.” This is the web site:


The second announcement by the Nemzetgazdasági Minisztérium was the clincher for me:
“January 24. There will be great opportunities for Hungarian companies in Sri Lanka.”
Riiight. There are NO great opportunities for Any company in Sri Lanka.
Did this kind of nonsense go unnoticed?


Reminds me of the North Korean press. Recently: Kim Jong Il distributed fish to the population (after he died).


@Ocsi The socialist government tried to sell some machinery in 2009 for cca. 20 million US.
Maybe they are claiming credit for that.


Orban and his poodles’s verbal contortions on the IMf is probably worth a section on its own.
For starters and in obvious chronological order:
“If the IMF comes back, I am leaving,”
The Dear Leader
Matolcsy: “this three-letter institution opposes every single one of our measures, and for this reason, governmental policy is not tuned to it, but precisely against it.”
“Er… please IMF, can we have a quiet word”:
“…the IMF has never gone away; it is our bank”
Of course.
To be continued, no doubt

Joseph Simon

Concerning Moody’s and S&P. Europe needs its own financial rating agnecy. Period.


Joseph Simon: You forget Fitch. And I do agree with you that an European/Russian rating agency is required, and also an Asian one and South American one.
Here is an interesting article in the Guardian regarding these agencies.


So, I thought I should apologize for the following post ahead, then maybe I should not as our current government have no problem with how our proud member of the European Parliament represents Hungary in his public statements. Fidesz never apologized for the statements made by its member, Tamas Deutsch while addressing other politicians in his eloquent ways.
“loathsome stinkers, faggots, fuck, you can’t get it up, masturbating” (some more are also available but cannot be translated to English without loosing that Hungarian flavour, like kurva anyank, stb.).
A True Hungarian specimen, the best Hungary can offer put on exhibition by the ruling Fidesz. A heartfelt invitation to foreign politicians to diplomatic engagement with our government.


Joseph Simon, Ron: The ratings agencies are independent private firms. There is nothing to stop anyone, anywhere, from starting their own agencies (indeed the capital required would be rather modest), but their success will be determined strictly by how their ratings are accepted by the market. Arguments about the domicile of the agencies are red herrings, distractions from actually discussing the issues raised by a rating, like governance, capitalization, security etc.. However politicized these may be, the markets treat these factors with striking objectivity.


@Joe Will you believe these European agencies when it comes to invest your money? When the Hungarian credit agency will tell you Hungary is stable, will you invest your retirement money into Hungarian bonds? Joe, just curious, can you describe your portfolio?


IMF to Hungary: “If the government is interested in proceeding on program discussions, it should demonstrate its willingness to engage on policy issues that are relevant to macroeconomic stability,” Christoph Rosenberg, mission chief of the International Monetary Fund to Hungary replied to a Reuters question as to whether talks about financial assistance would continue in January.

Joseph Simon

Europe is only for visiting, not for investing. But still, a European rating agency would be better suited for Europe.


Yeah, it can be a tourist attraction! The world’s most ignored credit agency!


Joseph Simon: How, exactly would a European rating agency be any better (or worse, for that matter) than one domiciled in the US (or Japan or Hong Kong for that matter.)
The information on which a rating decision is made is universal and based on generally accepted accounting principles (and if a company is found to fail to follow those principles, it will be reflected in subsequent ratings). It has to be based on universal criterion because the survival of a ratings agency is based on the reliability of its information and opinions. The agencies were all badly shaken in the crisis of 2008-9, and they have since all followed a much stricter regime: no trust, but verify.
Or is there some exception that exists only on planet Hungary that you’re thinking of?


GW: A European Credit Agency is a topic since 2004, and became a hot topic since 2008. And since an error was made by S&P (incorrect e-mail downgrading France) in November 2011, and subsequently via press release it was corrected, the financial impact on France was significant.
Here some info via Euractiv
As to General Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) they are not universal and may vary significant per country.
International Accounting Standards (IAS) or Financial Accounting Standard Board (FASB)reporting may be sufficient for companies, but not for countries. For countries OECD and IMF may issue certain regulation in order to make it more universal.


I don’t know to laugh or cry?!
average Joe and Jane will believe this! are these “achievements” backed by any facts?

Ron, An EU-created agency is simply not going to happen. Above and beyond the credibility question raised in your link, the liability questions of an EU-sponsored rating, should it prove to be false (think only of the case of Greece, which provided falsified books for years prior to entry into the Euro) are insoluble. As for regulation of the agencies, dream on, as an agency’s opinion is just that, and as such it is protected speech, whose credibility is determined not by regulation but by the best available judge, the market, responding critically to any rating agency’s opinion, caveat lector. There is no legal obstacle to the creation of an agency domiciled in Europe, but there is also no demand for such an agency, and, indeed, considerable skepticism that such an agency would bring anything new to the market. Yes indeed, S&P made a mistake in November (in all likelihood a premature announcement of a drop in France’s rating) but again, the principle is caveat lector, and it is the job of investors to read critically, consider other opinions, and to look for themselves at the underlying available data. If France believes the opinion to be in error, then it… Read more »

GW you make all the arguments why EU should not have one, but at the same time why EU should have one.
All three agencies are HQ in the USA and depend their ratings/decisions, hopefully, on correct, timely and impartial information.
But how do we know this? The article in the guardian suggests that they become more political. Than the question is on whose side are they?
GW: There is no legal obstacle to the creation of an agency domiciled in Europe, but there is also no demand for such an agency, and, indeed, considerable skepticism that such an agency would bring anything new to the market.
I do not think there is an economic reason for such a move, but a political one. And btw I am not for a new credit agency per se, but one of the existing ones with HQ in the EU would do for me.
As to the mistake made re. France. The French want to create legislation to prevent such mistakes and/or be able to sue them in court. I am against this, as this would hurt the decision making process on the long term.


@Ron “I do not think there is an economic reason for such a move, but a political one”
Funny. So governments can put pressure on them? I really what’s stooping the people in Europe from launching one agency. Let’s see who will the market trust better on international affairs.
The agencies also play an important role in the US rating a lot more than just countries. That’s how they make money and that’s what the problem is with them in the US – the conflict of interest. They gave AAA ratings to mortgage backed securities without blinking when the packages was full of questionable loans, like illegal immigrants owning more than one townhouses in Brooklyn – there are many stories. They were payed by the institutions who traded those securities.
The suing is an interesting idea. In case of France, when there was dumb mistake it would make sense. They usually inform the countries before the move so this can be avoided. But when Orban would sue them because the Hungarian economy is performing sky high and the agencies still think the bonds are junk – that’s going to be a cabaret.


For the record, the rating agency Fitch has dual headquarters, in London and New York, and is a subsidiary of FIMALAC, headquartered in Paris, so there is, indeed, a European-domiciled ratings agency.


I can proudly announce that my county, Fairfax County, Virginia is AAA rated by all the 3 agencies! I’m not joking. The same 3 agencies rate for instance counties in the US. Yeeehaaaa! Our bonds are flying off the shelves. We don’t want no stinkin’ euro-agencies.