Moldova’s industrial output accelerated to 3.8% y/y in February after modest 0.4%-0.5% annual growth rates over the previous three months and negative performances in September-October last year.
Despite the slowdown in recent several months, Moldova posted a robust 3.8% industrial advance in 2018, slightly more than the 3.5% performance in the previous year.
In January-February, the output advanced by a more modest rate of 2.1% y/y.
Furthermore, the output in the manufacturing industries edged up by only 0.5% in the first two months of the year. The more intense (+6.1% y/y) activity of utilities companies contributed to the overall figure (+2.1% y/y).
In the manufacturing area, the performance was dragged down by 2%-3% declines in production in the food and beverages industries, a deeper (-12.4%) decline in garment production and light industry in general. In contrast, the output in the automotive sector soared by 78.6% y/y in the first two months of the year. Production of rubber and plastic (+38.2% y/y), chemicals (+24.3% y/y) and metallic constructions (+20.5% y/y) pointed to potential future growth drivers (that rely on foreign investments) likely to replace light industry once the low labour cost advantage vanishes, and complement the food and beverage sector where the country holds a competitive advantage.