According to information released by Statistics Estonia on Friday morning, Estonia's GDP grew 4.5 percent on year in the first quarter of 2019, totaling €6.7 billion at current prices.
The seasonally and working day adjusted GDP grew 0.5 percent compared with the previous quarter and 4.6 percent compared with the first quarter of 2018.
Economic growth was driven by manufacturing. The last time that manufacturing had such a great impact was four years ago, in the second quarter of 2015.
Nevertheless, economic growth in the first quarter was broad-based, as five other economic activities made notable positive contributions: information and communication; professional, scientific and technical activities; wholesale and retail trade; agriculture, forestry and fishing; and transportation and storage.
The value added in construction, which had driven economic growth for the last two and a half years, did not increase in the first quarter, remaining steady on year. The only significant negative impact on economic growth came from electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.
Domestic demand grew 4.6 percent in the first quarter. The slower growth compared to previous quarters was attributable primarily to household final consumption (2.8 percent). The rapid growth of fixed capital formation, which had begun at the end of the previous year, continued in the first quarter at 20.4 percent. This was primarily the result of investments by nonfinancial enterprises into transport equipment as well as machinery and other equipment.
The exports of goods and services grew 4.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019. The exports of goods grew 6.9 percent, the fastest pace recorded in the past two years. The biggest contributions to growth came from the exports of coke, petroleum products as well as computer, electrical and optical equipment. The exports of services, which have usually grown more rapidly than the exports of goods, experienced a slight decline of 0.4 percent. This was the result of a decline in the exports of construction and freight rail transport services.
The imports of goods and services, meanwhile, grew 3.8 percent on year. The import of goods grew 4.8 percent, largely due to the imports of metal products and electrical equipment. The imports of services grew 0.5 percent.
The share of net exports in the GDP was 3 percent in the first quarter of 2019.
In the first quarter, both the number of persons employed as well as hours worked increased. As a result, productivity per person employed grew 2.7 percent, and productivity per hour worked grew 3.3 percent. The growth of unit labor cost equaled the GDP growth rate at 4.5 percent.
Editor: Aili Vahtla