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Romania’s Economic Growth Slows in 1st Quarter, Misses Estimates

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Romania’s economic growth slowed in the first quarter from the fastest pace since 2008 as the impact of a bumper harvest faded, tempering rising industrial output and consumption.

Gross domestic product increased 3.8 percent from a year earlier, compared with 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter of last year, according to a preliminary estimate today, the Bucharest-based National Statistics Institute said in an e-mail. The median forecast of 11 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 3.9 percent expansion. GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 0.1 percent from the previous three months.

“Things are getting better, but the central and eastern European economies are hardly booming,” Lars Christensen, chief emerging-market analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen, said in a May 8 note. For Romania “we forecast average GDP growth this year of over 3 percent. We are mostly optimistic on domestic demand as the worst seems to be behind us.”

The European Union’s second-poorest member is counting mostly on car exports from Renault SA and Ford Motor Co. to boost growth that will help increase living standards and help the government meet its goal of joining the euro area in 2019. The International Monetary Fund estimates this year’s expansion at 2.2 percent.

The leu traded little changed at 4.4391 against the euro at 9:15 a.m. in Bucharest, after weakening 0.2 percent yesterday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Industrial production increased a seasonally adjusted 11.6 percent from a year earlier in March, while retail sales advanced 11.9 percent the same month, the fastest since 2008.

A detailed breakdown of third-quarter GDP will be released June 4, according to a calendar on the institute’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andra Timu in Bucharest at atimu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net Michael Winfrey, James M. Gomez

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