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Building sector leads growth

  • 2011-08-31
  • From wire reports

VILNIUS - The Lithuanian economy expanded at a faster rate in the second quarter than previously estimated, driven by recovering consumption and the construction industry, revised data showed, reports Bloomberg.
Gross domestic product grew 6.3 percent, compared with a preliminary estimate of 6.1 percent released on July 28, the statistics office said on Aug. 29. Output rose a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent from the previous quarter.
Lithuania’s economy, part of the Baltic region that suffered the world’s deepest recession in 2009, is growing at the second-fastest rate in the European Union, after Estonia, driven by foreign demand for its products and strengthening domestic consumption.

Faster than expected growth prompted Swedbank and the central bank to raise their 2011 GDP forecast for Lithuania in the past month. The value created by the construction industry grew the most, expanding by 16.3 percent in the second quarter from the same period last year, while output created by manufacturing grew 9.3 percent, the statistics office said in its report.
Household spending grew 6.7 percent in the second quarter and capital formation jumped 23.1 percent, it said.
The central bank raised its 2011 economic growth forecast to 6.2 percent this year, compared with a May estimate of 5.6 percent. The Bank of Lithuania said on Aug. 11 that growth may slow to 4.8 percent in 2012. Swedbank raised its estimate to 6.3 percent on Aug. 23, from a previous forecast of 4.2 percent.

Retail sales advanced 23.9 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier as consumers spent more on cars, fuel and food. Vehicle sales tripled, driven by demand from neighboring Belarus.
Exports, which make up about 65 percent of total economic output, grew 11 percent in the second quarter from the previous three-month period. Industrial output, representing about 20 percent of the economy, increased 10.4 percent in the second quarter on the year.

Austerity measures adopted in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are a lesson for the European periphery as it struggles through a sovereign-debt crisis, Fitch Ratings said on Aug. 25.