Romania: Growth moderates in Q4
According to a preliminary estimate released by the National Institute of Statistics on 14 February, the economy expanded 4.1% in the fourth quarter over the same period last year, slightly decelerating from the third quarter (Q3: +4.2% year-on-year). The result brings GDP growth for 2018 as a whole to 4.1%, notably down from the 7.0% expansion recorded in 2017.
Although a breakdown by components is not yet available, weakening industrial and external sectors were behind the marginal slowdown. Industrial production growth was quite subdued in Q4, as was external demand, both of which suffered from a cooling industrial sector in the EU. On the other hand, robust retail sales, coupled with tightening labor market conditions and moderating inflation, suggest household spending expanded at a solid pace in the quarter. Moreover, even if absorption of EU funds likely remained sluggish, fixed investment is expected to have rebounded somewhat following two quarters of contraction.
On a quarter-on-quarter, seasonally-adjusted basis, GDP growth fell notably (Q4: +0.7% quarter-on-quarter; Q3: +1.7% qoq). The Statistical Office (INSSE) will release more detailed data on 7 March.