The economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic will be a U-shaped graph, the country’s most prominent banker and industrialist Sándor Csányi said in a rare interview encompassing most of his activities from banking to food production to football.
The 67-year-old Csányi, an economist by training, serves as the president-CEO of Hungary’s largest commercial bank, OTP, and while at the helm he grew the OTP Group into a regional player with subsidiaries in a dozen regional countries. He is also owner of several major food production companies and the president of the Hungarian Football Association.
With a fortune of HUF 368 billion ($1.13 billion), he is also one of only three billionaires based in dollars in Hungary.
In an online interview with conference organizer Brain Bar, Csányi said that in contrast with many Western economies where output is expected to show an L-shape, meaning that lower performance is likely to persist, he expects a U-shaped graph in the case of Hungary.
In view of the current, rapidly changing and fluent situation, he refused to speculate on when the Hungarian economy will begin its actual recovery.
“When I play cards late into the evening with my friends, and they ask me at what time will we get up in the morning, I always say, ‘Tell me when we are going to bed and then I can tell you when will we get up,'” he said. Csányi added that the current crisis could me more extended in case of a second infection wave.
With regard to the safety of Hungary’s food supply, he said the country’s food production covers 150 percent of domestic needs, so there is no danger in that sense, adding, however, that the whole supply chain from farm to consumer must be secured in the future.
“It would be good to have the entire production range of strategic foods secured, from packaging through logistics to production,” Csényi said, adding that the plastic bottle caps for Mizo, a dairy brand in Hungary, are currently being sourced from Italy.
He also expects tourism will take at least a year to recover from the crisis.
“Hospitality and tourism will need at least a year to recover (as) tourists won’t be coming until there is a vaccine or a treatment.”
He also said that since the onset of the pandemic, international organizations have shown to be ineffective, with the WHO “not at top of its game” and the European Union having had “virtually disappeared from our lives”.
Title image: Suzuki car plant in Hungary. (suzuki.hu)