Austrian Economy Poised to Beat 2014 Expectations, Wifo Says

Austria’s economy, driven by exports and buoyed by government spending, is set to beat analyst expectations next year, the state-supported Wifo research institute said.

The Alpine country’s gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services, will expand 1.7 percent in 2014 after 0.4 percent growth this year, the Vienna-based group said in a report. Analysts predict 0.4 percent growth this year followed by a 1.5 percent expansion in 2014, according to 13 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“The uncertainties in the financial markets have eased somewhat and companies are more optimistic about future developments,” Wifo said in the report. It’s the second time that the institute has adjusted its projections. Wifo saw 1.8 percent in 2014 growth in March before cutting its forecast to 1.6 percent in June.

Austrians, who enjoy Europe’s lowest unemployment rate and were named among the happiest people in the world by a United Nations study, elected a new parliament this week. The nation’s economy is driven by manufacturing exports, about a third of which go to Germany. Companies like high-quality steelmaker Voestalpine AG and hydro-turbine maker Andritz AG are global leaders in their industries, even if not household names.

Exports will climb 5.5 percent in 2014 after a 2.5 percent rise this year, according to Wifo. Private consumption will recover, growing 0.9 percent in 2014 after stagnating this year.

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