GDP data for fourth quarter & second half of 2015
February 29, 2016
Bottom line: GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 (Q4), at an annualised 3.3%, was much higher than expected and the data are positive in almost every respect. All the main components of GDP posted increases, with private consumption (of durable goods) and imports leading the way, thanks to another surge in purchases of vehicles. However, despite the strong showing in Q4, the rate of GDP growth for the second half of 2015 (H2) was only 2.2% (annualised), down from 2.9% in the first half. This discrepancy is primarily the result of statistical methodology, which measures the quarterly change versus the previous quarter and the half-yearly change versus the previous half-year.
- The data, published by the CBS on February 15, are the first estimate for H2 and Q4. They do not contain an estimate for full-year 2015.
- Private consumption expenditure (PCE) posted a 5.8% annualised rise in Q4, compared to 2.2% and 1.6% in the third and second quarters respectively. For H2, PCE rose by 3%, compared to 4.8% in H1 and 6.6% in H2 2014.
- Growth in PCE was driven by a 52.7% per capita rise, Q-on-Q, in durable goods consumption — dominated by another year-end surge in vehicle imports. Per capita consumption of non-durable (current) goods fell4%.
- Government consumption expenditure rose 14.5% Q-on-Q, reflecting the passage of the 2015 budget.
- Investment (Gross Fixed Capital Formation) rose by 6.8%, after a 0.1% decline in Q3. Spending on plant and equipment posted an 8.1% increase — the first quarterly increase of 2015. Residential investment rose by 3.8% — having risen every quarter of 2015.
- Exports rose by 7.6%, the strongest pace since 2013.
- Imports jumped by 25% — driven by vehicle purchasing.
GRAPH: GDP and business sector GDP — annualised rate of change for each half-year, versus the previous half-year
July 2008 – December 2015, in percentage points, seasonally adjusted data
Source: Central Bureau of Statistics