Estonian Economy Grows 9.8% In First Quarter

Growth in household consumption was the biggest in the last 14 years.

Compared with the same period in 2006, the Estonian economy grew by 9.8% in the first quarter of 2006 according to the national statistics bureau showed June 11. "Economic growth is still fast but the growth rate has somewhat decelerated compared with the previous year," the statistics department said in a report.

Domestic demand grew by 15.9% on an annual comparison, mainly due to the growth in the household consumption and capital investments. Growth in household consumption was the biggest in the last 14 years, driven mainly by higher outlays for clothes and footwear, transport, and recreation and culture, and supported by rapidly rising salaries.

Compared with the last quarter of 2006, GDP grew by 2.3%. Over the whole of 2006, Estonia's economy grew by 11.4% on an annual comparison. In the first quarter of 2006, the Estonian economy grew by 11.6% on a 12-month basis.

Estonia's growth rate last year was the second fastest in the 27-bloc EU Union, lagging just half a percentage point behind neighboring Latvia, where the 11.9% annual economic growth seen last year was also fueled by strong domestic demand.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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