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Growth decelerated to 3.4% in year-on-year terms in the first quarter of the year, down somewhat from the previous quarter’s 3.8%.

Outstanding a breakdown by components, the accompanying press release points out that growth was mainly supported by the following sectors: hotels and restaurants, retail and wholesale trade, construction, and manufacturing.

In seasonally-adjusted quarter-on-quarter terms, the economy increased 0.9% in the first quarter, matching Q4’s expansion.

More detailed national accounts data will be released on 7 June.

Growth is expected to moderate this year, as debt repayment restrains consumer spending, although should remain solid nonetheless. Particularly, healthy wage and job gains should cushion the slowdown, while buoyant construction activity will fuel a strong rebound in fixed investment. Downside risks to the outlook include a disorderly Brexit, a banking system burdened by non-performing loans and large stocks of private and public debt.
FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to increase 3.1% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 2.6% in 2020.

Author: Massimo Bassetti, Economist