Some more on fiscal deficits:
According to The Economist, China will run a deficit of only 3.5 % in 2009. Not sure if this is up-to-date. It sounds extremely low (as tax revenues were down sharply in Q1, and the stimulus measures are substantial). If the figure is correct, then China is among the most fiscally conservative countries worldwide. Especially as countries with high growth potential can afford much larger deficits than those with hardly any growth potential such as Germany or Japan.
And Hong Kong still projects a budget surplus of 2.4 %. Strange. No idea how they manage to do that. Hmmm. The Economist might have gotten some of the figures wrong, as it also projects Hong Kong's GDP to grow by 5.4 % this year. No way! (Shame on The Economist for publishing sloppily maintained tables!)
As for smaller European countries, some of them stick out as unusually thrifty:
The Netherlands are still expecting a budget surplus of 0.2 %. That's rather amazing, considering a current account surplus similar to Germany's, and a high export ratio. (Edit: I suspect The Economist is again publishing wrong numbers: According to a recent Forbes article, The Netherlands will see a budget deficit of "more than 3 %" this year. What's this world coming to, if you can't even trust The Economist anymore?)
Norway's projected budget surplus is an incredible 10.5 %. Current account surplus stands at 10 %. I guess it helps that Norway is a tiny country with only 4 million people and lots of oil.
Finally, there's Switzerland, which also has a huge current account surplus, and projects a moderate budget deficit of 2 %.
2:00PM Water Cooler 3/29/2017
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