It was the twelfth consecutive period of expansion and the strongest in seven years, mainly boosted by net external demand as exports of goods and services jumped 3.1 percent (2.7 percent in Q4 2016), while imports rose at a slower 1.2 percent (4.8 percent in Q4).
Also, domestic demand grew 0.2 from the previous period (1.6 percent in Q4), as household consumption advanced 0.8 percent (1.1 percent in Q4), and gross fixed capital formation increased 2.1 percent (5.9 percent in Q4). Investment went up at a slower pace for construction (5 percent from 7.6 percent in Q4) and other machinery and equipment (1.1 percent from 4.3 percent), while contracted for transport equipment (-0.7 percent from 8.5 percent in Q4) and intellectual property products (-3.2 percent from 3.3 percent in Q4). Meanwhile, government spending showed no growth (0.1 percent in Q4).
On the production side, output grew mainly for: Construction (4.7 percent from 6.7 percent in Q4); other service activities (1.2 percent from 0.8 percent in Q4); and financial, insurance and real estate activities (0.7 percent from -0.9 percent in Q4). Meanwhile, trade, accommodation and food service activities showed no growth (1.7 percent in Q4), while output contracted for industry (-0.4 percent from 0.8 percent in Q4); and transportation and storage, information and communication (-1.8 percent from 2 percent in Q4).
Year-on-year, the economy advanced 2.8 percent after growing by 2 percent in the previous period. It was the strongest growth rate since the last quarter of 2007, driven by net exernal demand, as exports rose 9.7 percent (6.6 percent in Q4) and imports advanced at a slower 8 percent (7.7 percent in Q4). Domestic demand grew 2.2 percent (2.5 percent in Q4), as households' spending expanded by 2.2 percent (3 percent in Q4) and fixed investment increased by 8.9 percent (5.2 percent in Q4) while public expenditure contracted 0.4 percent (after showing no growth in Q4).