Lithuanian Economy Expanded 3.9% in First Quarter on Building

Lithuania’s economy, the second fastest growing in the European Union, expanded 3.9 percent in the first quarter on construction and household consumption.

Growth slowed from 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter, the statistics office in the capital, Vilnius, said today by e-mail, confirming its preliminary estimate made on April 30. Gross domestic product rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent from the previous three months, also unchanged from the initial estimate.

The Baltic nation’s economy advanced as domestic demand strengthened and the country’s main export markets of Russia, Germany, Latvia and Estonia, posted quicker economic growth than economists predicted. That has prompted SEB Bank AB and the central bank to raise their growth forecasts for this year.

The expansion was driven by rising construction output, which jumped 10.8 percent, while household consumption grew 6.8 percent from the same period last year and government spending rose 0.4 percent, the statistics office said.

Retail sales grew 8.3 percent in the first quarter from last year, helping companies such as Apranga AB (APG1L), the biggest clothing retailer in the Baltic states, boost sales. Revenue at Apranga grew at least 28 percent in May, driven by a recovery in consumer spending and “ideal weather conditions” for the clothing market, Chief Executive Officer Rimantas Perveneckas said yesterday.

“Consumer spending is on the rise in the Baltic states,” Perveneckas said. “We can’t complain about that.”

The central bank estimates growth may slow to 3 percent this year from 5.9 percent in 2011, the second-fastest pace in the 27-member EU behind Estonia.

To contact the reporter on this story: Milda Seputyte in Vilnius at mseputyte@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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