A positive contribution from net trade helped GDP expand 0.8% (y-o-y) in Q2, up from a four-year low of 0.5% in Q1, supporting the view of a gradual recovery in the second half of 2013. Exports soared 5.1% (y-o-y) over the same period, as euro zone demand improved and the bloc exited recession. Private consumption, though, advanced only 0.2% (y-o-y) after no change in Q1, while gross fixed capital formation fell 3.8%. For Q3, industrial production leapt 6.3% (y-o-y) in July, owing to renewed strength in manufacturing. Moreover, the PMI for manufacturing climbed to a two-year high of 52.6 in August, buoyed by growth in new orders and increased hiring. The unemployment rate, while high, declined for a fifth straight month to 13.1% in July, offering hope for a sustained revival in domestic demand. Indeed, retail sales rose by a greater-than-anticipated 4.3% (y-o-y) in that month, after a 1.8% gain in June. The growth outlook for 2013 and 2014 has remained relatively unchanged, following downgrades earlier this year.
Inflation was 1.1% (y-o-y) in both July and August, up from 0.5% in Q2, and should gradually rise over the next six months. Policymakers have pledged to hold the reference rate at its current record-low of 2.5% until the end of the year to support the fledgling recovery.
You can download a sample of Eastern Europe Consensus Forecasts at www.consensuseconomics.com.