Austria: Economy contracts less than previously estimated
March 8, 2013
In the fourth quarter, GDP fell a seasonally and working-day adjusted 0.1% over the previous quarter, according to revised data published on 8 March. The reading was better than the 0.2% drop showed in the preliminary estimate and contrasted the 0.1% increase recorded in the third quarter. Compared to the same quarter the previous year, GDP accelerated from a 0.6% increase in the third quarter to a revised 0.7% expansion in the fourth (previously reported: +0.4% year-on-year). In the full year 2012, the economy grew 0.8%, well below the 2.8% expansion observed in 2011.
As shown in the flash estimate, private consumption decreased 0.1% in Q4, while government spending was revised up to a 0.1% expansion (previously reported: -0.3% quarter-on-quarter). Meanwhile, gross fixed investment increased 0.1% over the third quarter, which was revised from the flat reading initially reported.
On the external front, exports of goods and services deteriorated more than previously estimated, falling 0.3% in Q4 (previously reported: -0.1% qoq). Imports declined 0.2% in Q4, slightly worse than the 0.1% drop previously estimated. As a result, the external sector's net contribution to overall economic growth swung from a 0.4 percentage-point contribution in Q3 to a 0.1 percentage-point detraction in Q4.
In its biannual economic outlook report for 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 Consensus Forecast 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 1.6%.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist