Slovakia: GDP growth ticks up in Q4 on stronger external sector
The economy continued to grow at a solid pace in the fourth quarter, according to more complete data released by the Statistical Office of the Slovak Republic (SOSR) on 7 March. GDP growth inched up to 3.5% annually, marginally above the third quarter’s 3.4% print. It expanded at a slightly faster pace on the back of a stronger contribution from the external sector, while domestic demand lost steam on weaker fixed investment. Q4’s reading brought full-year growth for 2017 to 3.4%, up a tad from the 3.3% growth recorded in 2016.
Private consumption grew 3.6% over the same period last year in Q4 (Q3: +4.0% year-on-year), supported by tightening labor market conditions and rising wages. Moreover, fixed investment continued to expand, albeit at a softer pace than in Q3, sustained by rising inflows of EU structural funds and a strong industrial sector (Q4: +6.1% yoy; Q3. +10.4% yoy). Lastly, government consumption rebounded, swinging from Q3’s 1.4% contraction to 3.1% growth.
Export growth accelerated from 3.8% in Q3 to 5.7% in Q4, spurred by solid demand from EU countries. Meanwhile, import growth softened on weaker domestic demand, coming in at 3.3% following Q3’s stronger 5.9% growth, which translated into a stronger overall contribution to growth from the external sector.
On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the economy grew a seasonally-adjusted 0.9% in Q4, marginally above Q3’s 0.8% expansion.