In the first quarter, household consumption rose by 0.4 percent year-on-year, after a 0.2 percent growth in the December quarter, supported by broad-based increases in consumer spending, including in healthcare and food. Meanwhile, government spending declined by 0.3 percent, compared to a 0.5 percent rise in the prior quarter. Investment in equipment and software grew by 3.6 percent, following a 1.3 percent decline in the fourth quarter. The rebound was broad-based, including in research and development, vehicles and IT. On the other hand, construction investment shrank by 0.4 percent, after a 1 percent rise in the previous period.
Net foreign demand contributed slightly negatively to GDP growth. Exports of goods went up by 2 percent, following a 1.2 percent fall in the previous quarter. Transit trading and sales of precision instruments, watches and imitation jewelery particularly contributed to the rebound. Also, positive development was recorded for exports of machinery and metals. Meanwhile, exports of services rose by 0.9 percent, after a 2.6 percent drop in the December quarter. Imports of goods grew by 2.9 percent, following a 5 percent rise in Q4. Purchases continued to grow for: chemical and pharmaceutical products, vehicles and machinery. Imports of services expanded 0.8 percent, reversing from a 4.3 percent fall in the December quarter, due to renewed increase in licenses and patents.
Year-on-year, the GDP grew by 2.2 percent, following a 1.9 percent expansion in the previous period while markets estimated a 2.3 percent growth. It is the strongest yearly expansion since the December quarter 2014.