Hungary will delay investments worth 675 billion forints ($1.86 billion) this year as part of efforts to cut the budget deficit to a recently-increased 4.5% of gross domestic product target amid a tepid economic recovery, the finance minister said.

Hungary's economy could expand by just 2.5% this year, well below previous expectations for around 4%, with the pace of growth picking up in the second half of the year, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga told a news briefing on Thursday.

($1 = 363.57 forints) (Reporting by Gergely Szakacs and Anita Komuves)