POSTED: Friday November 11th 2016

Stronger Hungarian Economy Lifts Budapest Olympic Bid on Eve of ANOC Presentation in Doha

Moody’s credit ratings boost underlines affordability and stability of plans for Olympic Games in Budapest in 2024

Budapest’s campaign to host the 2024 Olympic Games has been given a significant boost by official confirmation of the growing strength of Hungary’s economy.

This week, ratings agency Moody’s has followed Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings by upgrading their status for the country, a vote of confidence in the outlook for the economy of Hungary from each of the world’s Big Three credit assessors.

“An economy that is strengthening at a sustainable and steady pace equals a fiscally secure Olympic Games,” said Budapest Bid Chairman Balázs Fürjes.

Last month, Standard and Poor’s moved Hungary into their Investment Grade category and a few days ago, Moody’s upgraded long-term government bonds into their second highest investment tier, based on a “stable, growth-friendly policy environment”.

The Moody’s report cites declining government debt burden, structural economic improvements that will “help sustain positive growth rates of 2-2.5% in coming years”, and a “significant reduction in external vulnerability”. Standard and Poor’s also expect the nation’s economy to grow by 2.5 per cent in the next 12 months followed by at least five more years of similar stable growth. 

The upgrading in credit ratings comes as a senior delegation from the Budapest 2024 bid team prepares to present details of Budapest’s master plan as the ‘Right Sized’ city to host the Olympic Games in 2024. The plan is closely aligned to reforms that the International Olympic Committee hopes will create a more affordable event for host cities. The Budapest 2024 model will enable the Olympic Games to be staged in a wider range of host city settings and regions in addition to large megacities.

The presentations by Budapest, along with Los Angeles and Paris, also bidding to host the 2024 Olympic Games, will take place at a meeting of the world’s National Olympic Committees and Olympic officials in Doha next week.

The Budapest Bid Committee made responsible financing of the Games one of the key platforms when they announced their strategy in 2015, with support from both regional and national governments.  The Budapest Games concept has a focus on financial responsibility, security and affordability and minimised risk, while ensuring technically excellent fields of play and venues in experienced sport host cities full of atmosphere and celebrations.

The Budapest plan, with the Olympic venues organised in seven clusters all within a seven-kilometre radius of the city centre, had already been developed to make best use of existing facilities and temporary stadia to create a lower and cost-effective Games.

Balázs Fürjes says that Budapest and Hungary are well adapted for investment on an Olympic scale. “The bedrock of a resilient and stable economy, now confirmed by the world’s most influential credit rating organisations, means that we can ensure that the Budapest Games is financially sustainable in line with the IOC’s Agenda 2020. We can make this pledge because we have a long-term vision for the Games that is integrated into robust and well-established national economic development. Our business ecosystem offers a low cost base, with all the advantages of relatively affordable production costs alongside all the security of a low-risk environment.”

Standard and Poor’s also raised their rating on the National Bank of Hungary to Investment Grade, improving both the long and short-term credit ratings. Moody’s has followed suit by upgrading the National Bank of Hungary, with a “stable” outlook.

Budapest 2024 bid organisers hope that the ongoing independent confirmation of this stable and balanced economy, along with the delivery of over 30 World or European championship and cup events in the last 7 years, will give IOC members evidence and confidence of the delivery capability of Budapest’s bid before they reach their decision in September 2017.

Bid Chairman Balázs Fürjes said: “This confirms to the world what we knew - that Hungary has the imagination and also the resources, the financial planning and the management experience and expertise to deliver on our bid’s commitment to plan and host an outstanding yet affordable Games.”

Hungary is at the heart of a dynamic region that has been consistently outstripping Eurozone growth since 2004. Hungarian and regional economies are expected to be strengthened further by a Budapest Olympic Games, providing positive economic conditions during the seven-year build up to the Games. If the Budapest bid is successful, the Olympic Games could generate as many as 100,000 new jobs according to estimates, creating an even more vibrant economic future.
Hungary has not had a current account deficit since the depths of the worldwide recession in 2009, and was a net lender to the rest of the world of 8% of its Gross Domestic Product in 2015. The unemployment rate, at less than 5%, is well below the European Union average.

The recently-published Moody’s report also points to an “improvement in cost competitiveness”. The Budapest Bid describes its host city as a “lower-cost, higher-value Central European hub” that is “highly accessible” to visitors with affordable first-class transport and accommodation. Earlier this year, Business Insider Magazine described Budapest as the “most affordable place to spend a day in Europe”.

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- For further information or media requests, please contact Gábor K‘rösi or Iván Rózsa

- Named as European Capital of Sport 2019, Budapest is a high-value city, with an excellent transport infrastructure and a long-term sustainable development plan. The Budapest 2024 Olympic Bid proposes a compact and intimate Games footprint in the capital, and a truly nationwide Games that features sport in six other Olympic cities. Budapest 2024 is dedicated to deliver an on-budget and inclusive Olympic and Paralympic Games in one of the top 20 most peaceful countries in the world. Sports-mad Hungary was one of the founding members of the IOC and has participated in the Games since 1896. Ranked in the top ten of the all-time Olympic Medal table, Hungary has yet to be awarded the right to host the Olympic Games.

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Keywords · Budapest 2024 · Olympics · Summer Games

Name: Ivan Rozsa
Organization: Budapest 2024

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