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The Netherlands, as other OECD countries, faces the challenge of providing high quality health and long term care services to an ageing population in a cost-efficient manner.
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The global crisis led to a smaller increase in the unemployment rate than in most other OECD countries as employment has been sustained through intensive use of reduced working time schemes.
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Public and private debt levels are very high by historical standards. OECD-wide total financial liabilities now exceed 1 000% of GDP. High debt levels can create vulnerabilities, which amplify and transmit macroeconomic and asset price shocks.
Composite leading indicators (CLIs), designed to anticipate turning-points in economic activity relative to trend, show signs of stabilising economic outlook in most major economies.
Big changes are needed to strengthen the capital positions of euro area banks. European banks remain at the heart of the euro area crisis. Despite actions to strengthen banks and build a banking union, confidence in the euro area banking system remains weak, and is likely to remain so until underlying concerns over low capitalisation of some banks are addressed.
Annual inflation in the OECD area rose by 1.9% in the year to November 2012, compared with 2.2% in the year to October 2012. This easing in the annual rate of inflation mainly reflected slower growth in energy prices, which increased by 2.9% in November, down from 5.4% in October.
The Australian economy is robust and faces a solid short-term outlook, but it must continue adapting to ensure that its privileged place in the Asia-Pacific region contributes to long-term sustainable growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of Australia.
Quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the G20 area grew by 0.6% in the third quarter of 2012 compared with 0.5% in the second quarter, according to preliminary estimates. The aggregate G20 GDP growth rate however continues to mask diverging patterns across economies.
The euro area crisis finds its roots in the credit booms seen in many countries following the introduction of the euro in 1999. Easy credit led to strong growth in a range of sectors, notably housing, as well as higher levels of public spending. Inflation in these over-heating economies was higher than the euro area as a whole. Rising prices led to rising costs and a loss of international competitiveness.
Secretary-General Angel Gurría led a discussion focusing on the challenges for global economic governance to stabilize the global economic system at the 5th IFRI World Policy Conference held in Cannes on 8 December.