TBILISI, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Georgia’s economy expanded 3.5 percent year-on-year in January 2019, down from 4.4 percent in January 2018 and a figure of 5.6 percent in December, preliminary data showed on Thursday.
The fastest growth in January was registered in the financial sector, trade, real estate and services, while there was a decline in the processing industry and construction.
The country’s economy expanded 4.8 percent in 2018, slowing slightly from 5 percent in 2017.
This year the government expects the economy in the former Soviet republic, through which pipelines carry Caspian oil and gas to Europe and which is also a popular tourist destination, to expand 4.5 percent.
Central bank governor Koba Gvenetadze told Reuters in January that he expected the economy to grow at least 5 percent in 2019.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday that Georgia’s economic growth this year was projected at 4.6 percent in 2019 with significant infrastructure investment expected to compensate for weaker external demand and slower credit growth.
Fitch Ratings upgraded Georgia’s long-term foreign currency rating to “BB” from “BB-“ with a stable outlook in February. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Keith Weir)