Latvian GDP growth strong in first quarter

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A flash estimate from the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) shows that, compared to the 1st quarter of 2017, in the 1st quarter of 2018 gross domestic product (GDP) value increased by 4.3 % (according to seasonally and calendar non-adjusted data).

Compared to the 4th quarter of 2017, GDP grew by 1.7 % (according to seasonally and calendar adjusted data).

The upward pressure on the GDP value was exerted by the output increase in industry (of 3 %), construction (35 %) and retail trade (of 5 %), the CSB said.

However, it should be stressed the figures are an estimate and precise value of and changes in the GDP in the 1st quarter of 2018 will be published on 31 May.

"Taking into account favorable conditions - economic growth in EU countries and available EU fund investments, it is expected that stable economic growth will continue and GDP in general could increase by 4.2% in 2018," the Economics Ministry said in response to the figures.

Swedbank said: "The economy is expected to be strong and resilient enough to cope with the shrinking of the non-resident banking business. The Swedbank forecast for the GDP growth this year is 3%. It is quite cautious given the strong start of the year, but we keep it unchanged for the time being – shrinking of the non-resident deposits will continue dragging on the financial sector value added and services’ exports, the import growth is expected to pick up given the robust growth in construction and investment activity, the economies of the main export destinations are expected to slow down, which all together means that the Latvia’s GDP growth rate should slow in the following quarters."

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