It was the fastest growth in five quarters, mainly nudged by a 5.5 percent expansion in manufacturing (vs 2.8 percent in the previous three-month period) and a 5.5 percent rise in utilities (vs 1.9 percent in Q3). Meantime, services gained steam (2.7 percent vs 2.4 percent) and primary activity rebounded (+2.9 percent vs -2.4 percent). In contrast, the construction sector shrank 5.8 percent, after a sharp 8.1 percent decline in the prior quarter.
On the expenditure side, final consumption gained steam, expanding 3.6 percent after 3.0 percent growth in the third quarter, with government spending surging 7.1 percent (vs +4.6 percent) and private spending climbing by 2.5 percent for the second quarter. In contrast, gross fixed investment declined 3.9 percent after a 6.6 percent plunge. Meantime, exports jumped 6.5 percent (vs +3.1 percent) and imports rose at a much slower 1.6 percent (vs -1.8 percent).
For full 2018, the GDP advanced 2.7 percent, the slowest annual growth since 2012, retreating from 3.1 percent in the previous year.