It was the 21st consecutive quarter of solid growth after a five-year financial crisis that ended in 2013.
According to preliminary estimates, government spending accelerated to 1.2 percent from 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Meanwhile, household consumption growth slowed to 0.5 percent from 0.8 percent and gross fixed capital formation contracted 0.2 percent, after expanding 0.8 percent in the three months to September, as investment in tangible fixed assets shrank (-0.5 percent from 0.9 percent in Q3), namely machinery, equipment, weapon system and biological resources (-1.5 percent from 0.8 percent) and construction (0.1 percent from 1.0 percent). Investment in intellectual property products increased 1.7 percent after a 0.4 percent expansion in the prior period.
Both exports (1.9 percent from -0.9 percent) and imports (1.1 percent from -0.2 percent) rebounded.
On the production side, the primary sector grew 5.3 percent in the three months to December, after contracting 3.4 percent while services output advanced 0.8 percent, the same pace as in the previous period. On the other hand, industrial activity shrank further (-0.9 percent from -0.2 percent in Q3) and construction output growth eased (1.2 percent from 1.6 percent).
On an annual basis, the GDP is expected to expand 2.4 percent, unchanged from the prior period’s and remaining the weakest growth rate since the last quarter of 2014 and above market forecasts of 2.3 percent.
Considering 2018 as a whole, Spain's economy grew 2.5 percent, slowing from a 3.0 percent expansion in 2017.