GDP grows at fastest rate since 2015
First-quarter gross domestic product rose 3.7 per cent, after being adjusted for inflation, in the first quarter of this year.
It was the fastest growth in quarterly GDP since the third quarter of 2015 and was helped by strong growth in construction work done.
GDP reflects the monetary value of the island's goods and services over a period in time and is regarded as an indication of economic health.
A report issued this evening by the Department of Statistics showed that GDP at constant prices in the first three months of the year was estimated at $1,339.5 million, 3.7 per cent up from the same period in 2018.
The main driver was a $30.9 million increase in gross capital formation, or fixed assets. The construction element of these assets saw a 15.6 per cent increase during the period. The report cited Belco's new North Power Station and ongoing work on the new airport terminal, as well as new residential construction, road and bridge refurbishments and hotel development.
After adjusting for inflation, household final consumption increased 0.5 per cent year over year to $624 million. During the period, households spent more on services such as accommodation services, catering services and insurance but less on durable goods such as motor vehicles.
Government final consumption rose 1.2 per cent, due to higher wages and salaries, offset by a reduction in spending on goods and services.
The net surplus on trade in goods and services increased $11.7 million, or 3.8 per cent, mostly because of a rise in services exports, which rose 5 per cent during the period. There were increased earnings from the export of travel services, legal and accounting services.
Goods imports, which have a downward effect on GDP growth, grew 10.7 per cent due mostly to imports of machinery, fuel and finished equipment.
Payments for the imports of services rose 1.3 per cent due to construction and engineering services.
GDP in current prices, which does not adjust for inflation, rose 4.8 per cent to $1,816.2 million, up 4.8 per cent year over year.