Austria: GDP slightly revised upwards in Q1
June 8, 2012
In the first quarter, GDP expanded a seasonally and working-day adjusted 0.3% over the previous quarter, according to revised data released by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) on 8 June. The reading was up from the 0.2% flash estimate released on 15 May and contrasted the 0.1% drop observed in the fourth quarter. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP accelerated from a 0.7% increase in the fourth quarter to a 2.0% expansion in the first. As shown in the flash estimate, the acceleration in the first quarter was buttressed by an improvement in the external sector. Exports of goods and services expanded 0.4% in the first quarter (initially reported: +0.7% quarter-on-quarter), faster than the 0.1% increase observed in the fourth quarter. Imports grew 0.1% in Q1 (previously reported: +0.5% qoq), slower than the 0.3% growth rate tallied in Q4 2011. As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall growth improved from minus 0.1 percentage points in the fourth quarter to plus 0.2 percentage points in the first. On the domestic front, private consumption weakened somewhat in the first quarter, adding a revised 0.1% over the previous quarter (previously reported: +0.2% qoq), while government spending also grew a modest 0.1% over the fourth quarter. Moreover, gross fixed investment increased a revised 0.6% in Q1 (previously reported: +0.4% qoq), slower than the 0.9% expansion recorded in the October-December period of 2011. In its bi-annual economic outlook report for June, the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) revised its growth prospects and now expects GDP to expand 0.9% this year, up from its previous 0.7% projection. For 2013, the OeNB forecasts that the economy will grow 1.7%, slightly up from the 1.6% previously expected.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist