Latvia's calendar-adjusted industrial production surged 10.6% y/y in February, more than doubling its growth rate from the expansion of 4.7% the previous month, the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) reported on April 3.
The gain marks the sixth positive reading in a row following a hiccup in August; 10 of the last 12 months have shown output growth. The return to the heady speed of output gains seen around the turn of the year increases the hopes that the Latvian economy can shift into a higher gear this year. GDP grew 2% in 2016 and is forecast to pick up speed to 2.8% - the fastest growth in the Baltic states – this year.
The annual industrial production growth in February owed to expansion in all the main categories. Mining and quarrying grew 11.2%, while the manufacturing sector expanded 4.6%. In the utilities segment, output surged 28.4%.
Within the manufacturing sector, production of computer, electronic, and optical products expanded 34.8% on the year, while manufacture of chemicals and chemical products grew nearly 24.7%. Out of 14 branches of manufacturing, only two saw output contract. Food production fell 4.2% y/y in February, while the manufacture of wood and cork products dwindled 1%.
In seasonally adjusted monthly terms industrial production grew 3.3%, although mining and quarrying fell 2.2%. Manufacturing inched up 0.4% m/m, while output in utilities expanded 10.7%.