It was the 14th straight quarter of growth, after a five-year financial crisis that ended in 2013.
Gross fixed capital formation jumped 2 percent (0.5 percent in Q4 2016), boosted by strong investment in capital goods (3 percent after showing no growth in Q4), intellectual property (2.4 percent from 1.5 percent in Q4) and construction (1.1 percent from 0.7 percent in Q4). Also, government spending advanced 0.3 percent after falling by 0.2 percent in Q4, and private consumption went up 0.4 percent, easing from a 0.7 percent gain in the previous period. Net external demand contributed positively, as exports grew 4 percent (2 percent in Q4) while imports increased at a slower 3.8 percent (1.8 percent in Q4).
On the production side, the service sector expanded by 0.7 percent (0.5 percent in Q4), boosted by a rebound in financial and insurance activities (4.2 percent from -1.5 percent in Q4), and a further increase in information and communications (1.3 percent from 0.9 percent), real estate (0.6 percent from 0.5 percent) and public administration, health and education (0.3 percent from 0.2 percent). Industry output grew by 0.4 percent (1.3 percent in Q4), as manufacturing production rose by 0.6 percent (0.7 percent in Q4). Agriculture advanced by 2.2 percent after increasing by 3.8 percent in Q4.
On an annual basis, the economy grew by 3 percent in the first quarter, unchanged from the rate in the previous period and also in line with the preliminary estimate. Fixed investment expanded by 3.8 percent (2.2 percent in Q4); private consumption grew by 2.5 percent (3 percent in Q4); government spending edged up 0.1 percent (flat reading in Q4); and net external demand contributed positively, as exports jumped 8.4 percent (4.4 percent in Q4) and imports went up at a slower 6.4 percent (2.3 percent in Q4).
The economy grew 3.2 percent in 2016 and is expected to expand by 2.7 percent this year.