Latvia's calendar-adjusted industrial production grew 10% y/y in March, the Central Statistical Bureau (CSB) reported on May 8.
The gain marks the seventh positive monthly reading in a row following a hiccup in August; ten of the last twelve months have shown output growth. Maintaining the heady speed of output - the March reading was just 0.6pp below the surge recorded in February - supports hope that the Latvian economy can shift into a higher gear this year.
GDP grew just 2% in 2016. However, driven by more robust demand for exports from the Eurozone, and a pick up in EU-funded investment projects, the Latvian economy is now forecast to accelerate growth to 2.8% this year. Should the target be hit, it would likely represent the fastest growth in the Baltic states in 2017.
The annual industrial production growth in March was driven by expansion in all main categories. Mining and quarrying grew 5.6%, while the manufacturing sector expanded 7.4%. In the utilities segment, output grew 19.1%.
Within the manufacturing sector, production of computer, electronic, and optical products expanded 38.8%, while manufacture of wearing apparel grew 28% and production of motor vehicles, trailers, and semi-trailers gained 27.6%. Production of electrical equipment gained 25.6% y/y. Overall, out of 14 branches of manufacturing, ten saw output increase.
In seasonally adjusted monthly terms industrial production grew 1%, with mining and quarrying falling 6.3%. Manufacturing grew 2.4%, while output in utilities contracted 3.1%.