Austria: Economic growth flat in first quarter
May 15, 2013
In the first quarter, GDP recorded zero growth over the previous period in seasonally and working day adjusted terms, according to preliminary data released by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) on 15 May. The reading came in slightly above the 0.1% contraction recorded in the final quarter of 2012. Compared to the same quarter last year, GDP declined 0.6% in Q1, which contrasts the 0.7% expansion registered in Q4.
The subdued reading showed that private consumption registered nil growth in Q1, which mirrored the reading seen in Q4. In contrast, public spending accelerated from a 0.2% increase in Q4 to a 0.5% expansion in Q1. On the other hand, gross fixed investment contracted 0.5% in the first three-month period (Q4 2012: -0.3% quarter-on-quarter).
On the external side of the economy, exports of goods and services picked up slightly from a 0.2% increase in the fourth quarter to a 0.3% expansion in the first. Imports followed suit, and also grew 0.3% in Q1, faster than the zero growth registered in the final quarter of 2012.
In its biannual economic outlook report from December, the Austrian National Bank (OeNB) expects the economy to expand 0.5% this year. For 2014, the Bank sees economic growth rising to 1.7%.
FocusEconomics panellists are more optimistic than the Bank and project the economy to grow 0.8% in 2013, which is unchanged from last month's estimate. For 2014, panellists expect the economy to grow 1.7%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist