Ljubljana, 31 May (STA) - Slovenia's economy continues strong with the latest data showing that the GDP expanded at an annual rate of 3.2% in real terms in the first quarter of the year and by as much as 3.7% when adjusted for season and working days.
Although growth in real terms slowed down from the 4.1% recorded in the previous quarter, seasonally adjusted rate of growth ran slightly above the 3.6% recorded in the final quarter of 2018.
Seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter growth was 0.8%, data from the Statistics Office (SURS) show.
Contrary to the expectations of analysts, the slowdown was not provoked by external demand as the growth of exports gathered pace compared to the previous two quarters, but rather by a slowdown in domestic expenditure.
Domestic expenditure grew by 1.8% year-on-year in the first quarter, the lowest rate of growth in at least three years, with the biggest impact coming from a 1.3% decline in gross capital formation, SURS official Romana Korenič told reporters in Ljubljana on Friday.
Domestic expenditure was thus fuelled only by final consumption expenditure, which grew by 2.9%, a somewhat higher rate than in the previous three quarters.
Government final consumption rose by 3.6% and household consumption by 2.6%, however Korenič said that despite the lower growth rate the latter contributed more to the final consumption growth than government spending.
The statisticians noted a slowdown in household expenditure for durable goods, in particular cars. However, daily purchases of goods such as food, beverages, fuel and some types of services increased.
After a somewhat lower growth of exports in the final quarter of last year (5.4% and 6.8%), exports expanded by 7.6% year-on-year in the first quarter.
Imports increased at a slower pace (6.4%), which resulted in high external trade surplus. This time it contributed 1.6 percentage points to GDP growth.
Employment keeps increasing, with the number of people in work in the first quarter growing by 2.6% year-on-year to 1,026,547. Most new jobs were created in manufacturing, construction, transport, trade, and professional, scientific and technical activities.