Romanian Economy Grew for First Time in Two Years in 1st Quarter

Romania’s economy expanded in the first quarter for the first time in more than two years as exports and industrial output offset for weak domestic demand.

Gross domestic product grew a preliminary unadjusted 1.6 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 0.6 percent decline in the fourth quarter, and rose an adjusted 0.3 percent, the National Statistics Institute in Bucharest said today in an e- mailed statement. GDP grew 0.6 percent from the previous three months, the second quarterly growth in a row.

Romania, which took a two-year precautionary loan from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union this year, will probably see economic output grow 1.5 percent in 2011, exiting a two-year recession, according to government and IMF forecasts. Growing exports and industrial production will probably help the economy recover this year, the IMF said.

The Balkan nation had relied on a 20 billion-euro ($28 billion) international bailout loan to stay afloat from 2009 until 2011, raised taxes and cut public wages and benefits to narrow its budget deficit within IMF-agreed targets amid the global and European sovereign-debt crisis.

“The main growth driver in the first quarter was probably industrial output, as domestic demand grew only slightly and raises questions on how sustainable its growth is,” ING Bank Romania SA economist Nicolaie Alexandru-Chidesciuc said by phone before the announcement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Irina Savu in Bucharest at isavu@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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