Romania’s Economy Grows at Fastest Pace Since 2008

Romania’s economic growth unexpectedly accelerated last quarter to the fastest pace since 2008, probably boosted by surging exports and improved consumption.

Gross domestic product increased 5.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 4.1 percent in the third quarter, according to a preliminary estimate released today by e-mail by the Bucharest-based National Statistics Institute. The median forecast of 13 economists surveyed by Bloomberg was for 2.8 percent expansion. GDP rose a seasonally adjusted 1.7 percent from the previous three months.

Romania’s growth remained “strong on robust exports and improving consumer demand,” Daniel Hewitt, a London-based senior emerging-markets economist at Barclays Plc, said in a note before the data were published.

The European Union’s second-poorest member is counting on car exports by Renault SA and Ford Motor Co. to boost growth and compensate for weak domestic demand. Record-high exports and a bumper harvest contributed to economic growth of 3.5 percent for 2013. The government and the International Monetary Fund estimate expansion this year at 2.2 percent.

The leu strengthened 0.2 percent to 4.4865 against the euro at 9:30 a.m. in Bucharest, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Industrial production increased a seasonally adjusted 7.9 percent from a year earlier in December, while retail sales advanced 4.8 percent the same month. Exports grew 10 percent last year to 49.6 billion euros ($67.8 billion).

A breakdown of third-quarter GDP will be released March 5, according to a calendar on the institute’s website.

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