On the expenditure side, private consumption edged up 0.09 percent, far lower than a 3.24 percent growth in the September quarter, and net external demand contributed negatively to the GDP as imports rose 2.96 percent (vs 7.87 percent in the third quarter) while exports declined 2.22 percent (vs 8.66 percent in Q3). In addition, fixed investment grew much softer (3.80 percent vs 6.32 percent in Q3). Meanwhile, government spending jumped 37.72 percent, following a 6.36 percent increase in the September quarter.
On the production side, activity contracted for: agriculture, forestry and fishing (-21.41 percent vs 3.22 percent in Q3); mining and quarrying (-0.16 percent vs 0.31 percent); manufacturing (-1.16 percent vs 2.58 percent); wholesale and retail trade (-2.18 percent vs 3.05 percent); financial services & insurance (-0.02 percent vs 3.08 percent). Meantime, output grew less for: electricity and gas (1.46 percent vs 3.38 percent); water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities (3.53 percent vs 3.79 percent); construction (4.6 percent vs 4.8 percent); transportation and storage (0.2 percent vs 2.42 percent); accommodation and food service (1.51 percent vs 1.68 percent); information and communication (0.4 percent vs 3.67 percent); real estate (0.91 percent vs 1.05 percent); business activities (1.76 percent vs 2.41 percent); and other services (1.47 percent vs 2.67 percent). Conversely, public administration (12.47 percent vs 3.07 percent); education services (11.45 percent vs 2.90 percent) and healthcare and social activities (5.98 percent vs 2.21 percent) posted stronger rises.
Year-on-year, the economy advanced 5.18 percent in the fourth quarter, beating market expectations of a 5.11 percent growth and after a 5.17 percent expansion in the third quarter.
For 2018 the whole year, the economy expanded 5.17 percent, accelerating from a 5.07 percent growth in the prior quarter and slightly above estimates of a 5.15 percent advance. It was the strongest annual growth rate since 2013.