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Romanian finmin analysts keep 2017 GDP growth forecast at 5.2%

Romanian finmin analysts keep 2017 GDP growth forecast at 5.2% Albanian finance ministry/All rights reserved.

BUCHAREST (Romania), April 20 (SeeNews) - Romanian finance ministry analysts on Thursday maintained their January forecast for the country's 2017 real economic growth at 5.2%.

The National Prognosis Commission (CNP), an analyst unit within the finance ministry, said in a statement that Romania's gross domestic product (GDP) would total 815.2 billion lei ($194.6 billion/181.2 billion euro) in 2017. This compares to GDP of 761.5 billion lei in 2016.

Economic growth in 2017 will be backed by a more rapid increase - by 6.8% - in final household consumption, CNP said, revising its January forecast for a 6.7% rise.

Final household consumption rose 7.4% in 2016, according to data from the country's statistical office, INS.

The CNP also expects agriculture to grow by 1.9%, services by 5.3%, construction by 5% and industry by 6% in 2017. These figures compare with January forecasts of 1.9% advance in agricultural output, 5.2% rise in services, 6% growth in construction and 6% growth in industry.

Exports of goods and services are expected to grow by 5.6% in 2017, while imports are seen increasing by 8.5%, according to the latest CNP projections.

Romania's trade balance for 2017 is expected to show a deficit of 11.55 billion euro ($12.4 billion), the CNP said.

The country's trade gap widened by 27% on the year to an estimated 1.259 billion euro ($1.34 billion) in the first two months of 2017, INS said earlier. Exports and imports rose by 9.2% and 10.9% year-on-year, respectively, in the period January-February 2017.

CNP expects that unemployment rate will edge down to 5.7% in 2017 from 5.9% in 2016. Romania's unemployment rate was 5.4% in February, unchanged from the previous month, INS data showed.

The finance ministry analysts left unchanged their economic growth forecasts for the next three years compared to their January projection - at 5.5%  for 2018, and 5.7% for 2019 and 2020 each.

The figures largely comply with the 2017 budget, which is based on projections for 5.2% economic growth and envisages a deficit equivalent to 2.99% of GDP under the European System of Accounts (ESA) standards.

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) latest forecast for Romania's economic growth published on Tuesday is more pessimistic than the government's expectations. Romania's real GDP growth is projected to reach 4.2% in 2017 before it decelerates to 3.4% in 2018, the IMF said in the April edition of its World Economic Outlook (WEO).

(1 euro =4.5407 Romanian lei)