Services producing industries increased 1.9 percent in the fourth quarter (vs 2.6 percent in Q3), mainly supported by finance & insurance, business services and information & communications sectors. At the same time, construction output shrank 2.2 percent, following a 2.5 percent contraction in the previous period, primarily due to weakness in public sector construction activities. On the other hand, manufacturing production grew 5.5 percent in the three months to December, faster than the 3.7 percent increase in the previous period, largely driven by robust output expansions in the biomedical manufacturing and electronics clusters, which more than offset the output decline in the precision engineering cluster.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded 1.6 percent, following an upwardly revised 3.5 percent growth in the September quarter and also missing market consensus of 2.9 percent. Output growth eased for both services producing industries (3.7 percent vs 5.3 percent in Q3) and construction (1.1 percent vs 3.3 percent), while manufacturing slumped 8.7 percent, reversing a 3.1 percent growth in the third quarter.
For 2018 as a whole, the economy grew 3.3 percent, compared to a 3.6 percent expansion in 2017.