Greece: GDP grows at near one-decade high in Q4
According to a provisional dataset released by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT), the Greek economy accelerated in the final quarter of 2017, ending the year on more solid footing. The economy expanded 1.8% over the same period of 2016 in the fourth quarter, up from a revised 1.5% increase in the previous quarter (previously reported: +1.3% year-on-year). Q4’s result marks the best quarterly performance on an annual basis since Q1 2008. In turn, the print signals sustained improvement in the Greek economy at the end of 2017, following a prolonged period of turbulence over the recent decade. Nevertheless, according to a preliminary estimate, GDP growth for the entire year reached 1.4% in 2017, slightly below the government’s targeted 1.6% expansion, largely owning to slower growth in the first quarter.
The acceleration in Q4 came on the back of a marginal improvement in the domestic economy. Fixed investment jumped 25.2% in Q4, the strongest improvement in nearly a decade, rebounding from Q3’s sharp 8.5% drop. On the other hand, private consumption continued to contract in annual terms in Q4, deteriorating from Q3’s 0.5% drop (Q4: -1.3% yoy). The deterioration in overall consumption expenditure, however, moderated slightly in the quarter as a result of a 2.1% increase in government consumption (Q3: -1.1% yoy).
Export growth slowed from the third quarter’s 6.8% to 5.7% in the fourth quarter. In contrast, import growth picked up pace in Q4, accelerating to 5.0% (Q3: +3.9% yoy), possibly pointing to stronger domestic demand.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy expanded a meager 0.1% in Q4 in seasonally-adjusted terms, which was notably below Q3’s 0.4% increase and the lowest print in 2017. Nevertheless, the result marked the fourth consecutive quarter of growth, a trend that was last observed from Q1 2006 to Q4 2006. Greece appears to be slowly returning to sustained economic growth, albeit at a moderate rate, and from a very low base.