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  • 1 Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Stoczek u. 2, H-1111 Budapest, Hungary
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This paper addresses the experiences and challenges of Hungary’s monetary policy during the period 1995–2000 and in view of the progress toward EU and EMU membership. The structure of relative prices changed markedly in the past and is expected to continue to change in the future. The reason, in addition to a possible Balassa–Samuelson effect, was the elimination of subsidies and introduction of turnover taxes in the past, and a future convergence toward a price structure prevalent in the EU. In the 1995–2000 period, the resulting gap between CPI and PPI led to massive foreign capital inflows. While the policy of sterilised interventions by the National Bank of Hungary was probably the right answer, it was inevitably costly, and was made costlier than necessary by the way it was carried out. Continued adjustments in the price structure in the future will confront monetary policy with the same dilemmas and, resulting in an inflation floor, will complicate the country’s conditions of joining EMU within a reasonable time frame after EU accession.

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