TIRANA, March 29 (Reuters) - Albania’s economy grew 4.06 percent in 2018, the Institute of Statistics said on Friday citing preliminary estimates, up from 3.84 percent in 2017 and just under forecasts of 4.2 percent.
The Institute estimated the growth in 2018 gross domestic product based on quarterly figures. The economy expanded 3.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the same quarter in 2017, but that was more than a percentage point lower than growth in the other three quarters.
The economy expanded by an annual 4.42 percent in the first quarter, 4.32 percent in the second and 4.48 percent in the third quarter. Fourth-quarter GDP grew 0.57 percent over the third quarter, the Institute said.
Much of the growth was driven by electricity output, which benefited from heavy rain. Almost all of Albania’s power comes from the hydro plants.
Mining, manufacturing, energy and water helped GDP to expand in the fourth quarter, contributing 1.11 percentage points to growth, the Institute said.
Albania expects GDP growth of 4.3 percent in 2019. Less optimistically, the International Monetary Fund forecasts growth of 3.7 percent, since construction of a major pipeline is ending.
Gent Sejko, the head of the central bank, said on Thursday the economy had slowed in the final quarters as electricity output declined, but that “was not seen affecting the growth trends in the medium term”. (Reporting by Benet Koleka, editing by Larry Kin)