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Romanian Economy Expanded More Than Estimated in First Quarter

Romania’s economy grew more than economists estimated in the first quarter of this year, probably boosted by an increase in industrial output and consumption.

Gross domestic product advanced 2.1 percent from a year earlier, compared with 1.1 percent in the fourth quarter, according to a flash estimate by the National Statistics Institute in Bucharest, released today by e-mail. That exceeds the 1 percent median estimate of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1.4 percent from the first quarter of 2012 and 0.5 percent from the previous three months.

Romania, which is counting mainly on European Union demand for its goods, such as Renault SA’s Dacia cars, to support exports and growth, avoided a recession in the fourth quarter of last year. GDP advanced a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent from the previous quarter as domestic consumption and industry offset a poor harvest and a 25 percent agricultural slump.

“Growth is expected to gradually improve this year, particularly when the agricultural crop enters the picture,” analysts at Barclays Plc, including Eldar Vakhitov and Vladimir Pantyushin, wrote in a note before the data were released. “We expect growth to rise to a 1.4 percent year on year, with further improvement likely in second half.”

Industrial production increased a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, the institute said yesterday. Retail sales increased 0.8 percent, while exports expanded 4.6 percent, according to data released this month.

The statistics institute will release a breakdown of first-quarter GDP on June 5, according to a calendar on its website.

-- With assistance from Irina Savu in Bucharest and Barbara Sladkowska in Warsaw. Editors: Balazs Penz, Andrew Langley

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