The Irish economy grew by 0.1 percent on quarter in the final three months of 2018, slowing sharply from a 0.9 percent expansion in the previous period, as solid increases in private consumption and fixed investment were partially offset by a negative contribution from net exports.
On the expenditure side of the accounts, household consumption rose 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter, following a 0.9 percent increase in the previous three-month period; and fixed investment advanced 10.1 percent, easing from a 25.2 percent jump in Q3. Meanwhile, net trade contributed negatively to the GDP growth, as imports climbed 9 percent (vs 10.6 percent in Q3) and exports increased at a slower 5.3 percent (vs 1.3 percent in Q3).
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On the output side, financial and insurance activities made the most positive contribution to the Q4 result, rising by 3.1 percent, the same pace as in the previous period. Increases were also recorded in professional, admin and support services (3 percent vs 1.8 percent), public admin, education and health (1.5 percent vs 1.4 percent) and agriculture (0.9 percent vs -3.2 percent). Information and communication recorded a small increase (0.1 percent vs 0.5 percent). By contrast, construction output decreased 2.4 percent (vs 2.9 percent in Q3) while industrial production decreased 2 percent (vs 3.2 percent in Q3), within which manufacturing recorded a 1.8 percent contraction (vs 3.4 percent in Q3). Distribution, transport, hotels and restaurants recorded a slight decrease of 0.5 percent (vs 0.8 percent in Q3).
Year-on-year, the GDP growth slowed to a near two-year low of 3 percent in the fourth quarter from 5.4 percent in the previous three-month period. Considering 2018 full year, the Irish economy expanded 6.7 percent, slower than 7.2 percent in 2017.