Central & eastern europe: Regional growth at 10-year high

5 min

First estimates indicate that real GDP growth in the group of 11 EU members in the CEE region eased slightly to +4.8% y/y in Q4 from +5% in Q3, taking full-year 2017 growth to an estimated +4.6%. The latter is up from +3% in 2016 and marks a 10-year high. Romania outperformed the region again with growth surging to +7% in 2017, even though Q4 growth slowed to +6.9% y/y from +8.8% in Q3. And since inflation surged to 4.3% y/y in January (from 3.3% in December), concerns of an overheating of the Romanian economy are likely to remain on the agenda. Annual GDP growth accelerated also markedly in Poland (to +4.6% from +2.7%), Hungary (to +4% from +2.2%), Lithuania (to +3.8% from +2.3%) and Latvia (to +4.6% from +2%). Growth edged up slightly in the Slovak Republic (to +3.4% from +3.3%) while it eased in Bulgaria (to +3.7% from an already high +3.9% in 2016). A strong re¬bound in fixed investment, thanks to much improved absorption of EU funds, together with strength¬en¬ing consumer spending and robust exports were the key drivers of the growth acceleration in the region. As the investment boom will slow due to base effects, we expect regional growth of the 11 EU members in CEE to moderate to around +3.8% in 2018.