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Austria Economy

    Economy—overview: Austria has a well-developed market economy with a high standard of living. As a member of the European Monetary Union (EMU), Austria's economy is closely integrated with other EU member countries, especially with Germany. Austria's membership in the EU has drawn an influx of foreign investors attracted by Austria's access to the single European market. Through privatization efforts, the 1996-98 budget consolidation programs, and austerity measures, Austria brought its total public sector deficit down to 2.5% of GDP in 1997 and public debt—at 66% of GDP in 1997—more or less in line with the 60% of GDP required by the EU's Maastricht criteria. Cuts mainly affect the civil service and Austria's generous social system, the two major causes of the government deficit. To meet increased competition from both EU and Central European countries, Austria will need to emphasize knowledge-based sectors of the economy and deregulate the service sector, particularly telecommunications and energy. The strong GDP growth of 1998 is expected to dwindle back to 2.3% in 1999, and observers caution that this projection may be revised downwards in view of the Asian and Brazilian crises and Germany's lower growth projection.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$184.5 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: 2.9% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$22,700 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 1.4%
    industry: 30.8%
    services: 67.8% (1997 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 0.9% (1998)

    Labor force: 3.7 million (1998)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 67.7%, industry and crafts 29%, agriculture and forestry 0.7% (salaried employees, 1997 est.)

    Unemployment rate: 7% (1999 est.)

    Budget:
    revenues: $50.4 billion
    expenditures: $55.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (1998 est.)

    Industries: construction, machinery, vehicles and parts, food, chemicals, lumber and wood processing, paper and paperboard, communications equipment, tourism (1997)

    Industrial production growth rate: 4% (1998 est.)

    Electricity—production: 52.15 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 34.4%
    hydro: 65.6%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1997)

    Electricity—consumption: 56.1 billion kWh (1997)

    Electricity—exports: 9.8 billion kWh (1997)

    Electricity—imports: 9 billion kWh (1997)

    Agriculture—products: grains, potatoes, sugar beets, wine, fruit; dairy products, cattle, pigs, poultry; lumber

    Exports: $62.5 billion (1998)

    Exports—commodities: vehicles, machinery and equipment, paper and paperboard, metal goods, iron and steel, telecommunication equipment, textiles, medical and pharmaceutical products (1997)

    Exports—partners: EU 62% (Germany 35.1%, Italy 8.3%), Central and Eastern Europe 17.6% (Hungary 4.9%), Japan 1.3%, US 3.7% (1997)

    Imports: $65.8 billion (1998)

    Imports—commodities: vehicles, machinery and equipment, apparel, metal goods, oil and oil products, office and data-processing machinery, medical and pharmaceutical products, telecommunication equipment, textiles (1997)

    Imports—partners: EU 68.9% (Germany 41.7%, Italy 8%), Central and Eastern Europe 11% (Hungary 3.1%), Asia 7.1% (Japan 2.2%), US 5.4% (1997)

    Debt—external: $24.33 billion (1997)

    Economic aid—donor: ODA, $513 million (1997); of which, bilateral $298 million, multilateral $215 million

    Currency: 1 Austrian schilling (AS) = 100 groschen

    Exchange rates: Austrian schillings (AS) per US$1—11.86 (January 1999), 12.379 (1998), 12.204 (1997), 10.587 (1996), 10.081 (1995), 11.422 (1994)
    note: on 9 January 1999, the European Union introduced a common currency that is now being used by financial institutions in some member countries at the rate of 0.8597 euros per US$ and a fixed rate of 13.7603 Austrian shillings per euro; the euro will replace the local currency in consenting countries for all transactions in 2002

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)