Household expenditure increased 1.3 percent in the fourth quarter (vs 0.7 percent), driven by consumption of both durable goods (1.5 percent vs -1 percent) and non durable goods and services (1.2 percent vs 0.9 percent). In addition, government spending rose 0.3 percent, after being unchanged in the third quarter.
By contrast, fixed investment shrank 0.6 percent, following a 0.8 percent growth in the previous three-month period, due to lower spending on other machinery and equipment including weapon systems (-5.2 percent vs 0.2 percent) and transport equipment (-2.7 percent vs 6.7 percent). Still, increases were seen in intellectual property products investment (2.5 percent vs 1.9 percent) and construction spending (1.6 percent vs -0.2 percent). Net external demand also contributed negatively to the GDP as imports surged 1.9 percent (vs -2 percent in Q3) and exports increased at a slower 1.1 percent (vs -3.7 percent in Q3).
Year-on-year, the economy grew 1.7 percent in the fourth quarter, also unrevised from the preliminary estimate and below the 2.1 percent expansion recorded in the previous period. Domestic demand was the main driver of growth while net exports contributed negatively to the GDP. Considering 2018 full year, the economy expanded 2.1 percent, slower than 2.8 percent in 2017.