The economy grew by 3.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year when compared to the same period last year, the National Statistics Office said today.

It said GDP amounted to €1,771 million, an increase of five per cent over the corresponding period last year. In real terms, GDP went up by 3.5 per cent.

The Production Approach

In its analysis, the NSO said that during the first quarter, growth in gross value added was mainly generated by public administration and defence; compulsory social security; education; human health and social work activities, together with professional, scientifi c and technical activities; administrative and support service activities. A drop in gross value added was mainly reported in manufacturing as well as financial and insurance activities. There was an increase of 19.3 per cent in net taxation on products.

The Expenditure Approach

Total final consumption expenditure in nominal terms increased by 3.5 per cent. In real terms, total fi nal consumption expenditure increased by 2.2 per cent. Gross fixed capital formation increased by €49.5 million in nominal prices and by 18.6 per cent in real terms.

Real imports and real exports decreased.

The Income Approach

Compared to the corresponding quarter last year, GDP at current prices went up by €83.6 million, and is estimated to have been distributed into a €37.9 million increase in compensation of employees, a €12.6 million increase in gross operating surplus of enterprises, and a €33 million increase in net taxation on production and imports.

Gross National Income

Considering the effects of income and taxation paid and received by residents to and from the rest of the world, Gross National Income (GNI) at market prices for the first quarter was estimated at €1,732.6 million.

Finance Minister's comments

In comments to the media, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna said the growth registered in the wholesale and retail trade sector dismissed claims that retail trade was declining.

However, the most welcome indicator was the one for the construction industry which has experienced an upturn.

"The construction industry is no longer following a declining trend, but is experiencing an upturn. The construction industry had been on the decline for at least 12 consecutive quarters but it has registered an increase in value added of 3 per cent in the first quarter of 2014," he said.

"The latest figures confirm that the government is achieving a sustained economic turnaround, and that the economy is geared to keep performing well and continue generating quality employment."

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