Within the goods producing industries, manufacturing output grew at a much faster pace of 10.1 percent, following a 4.8 percent jump in the fourth quarter of 2017, with all the clusters expanding in Q1, led by electronics and precision engineering and contributing the most to the sector’s growth. On the other hand, construction output shrank by 4.4 percent after a 5.0 percent contraction in the previous quarters, explained by weakness in both private and public construction works.
The services producing industries also gained steam, expanding 3.8 percent in the first quarter after growing by 3.5 percent in the previous three months. Growth was mainly supported by wholesale & retail trade and finance & insurance.
On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualized basis, the GDP rose by 1.4 percent, below the 2.1 percent expansion of the previous quarter but above market expectations of a 1.0 percent climb.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry expects GDP growth for 2018 to come in slightly above the middle of the forecast range of 1.5 to 3.5 percent.