Exports rose 0.2 percent in the first quarter of the year (vs 1.4 percent in Q4) while imports fell 1.5 percent (vs 1.3 percent in Q4). Additionally, fixed investment grew 0.6 percent, the same as in the last quarter of 2018, mainly driven by non-residential construction (2.8 percent vs 0.3 percent) and residential (2.5 percent vs 0.4 percent). Also, government expenditure increased 0.2 percent, rebounding from a 0.2 percent contraction in the prior period. Meanwhile, household consumption went up 0.1 percent, easing from a 0.1 percent expansion in the previous quarter.
From the production side, the industrial sector grew 0.9 percent, after shrinking 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, boosted by construction (2.4 percent vs a flat reading) and manufacturing (0.5 percent vs -0.4 percent). Agriculture output rose 2.9 percent, after contracting 2.5 percent in the prior period. In contrast, the services activity shrank 0.2 percent, after expanding 0.1 percent in the previous quarter, mainly due to professional and support activities (-1.4 percent vs 0.5 percent); trade, transport and accommodation (-0.3 percent vs 0.1 percent); and inancial and insurance activities (-0.8 percent vs -0.2 percent). On the other hand, output rose further for public administration, defense, education, health (0.3 percent vs a flat reading); and other service activities (0.6 percent vs 0.1 percent); and rebounded for information and communication services (0.5 percent vs -1.1 percent). Also, real estate activities rose 0.2 percent, the same as in Q4).
Year-on-year, the GDP shrank 0.1 percent, after being unchanged in the prior quarter and missing market consensus of a 0.1 percent growth.