February is usually a good time to take stock of the country’s economic performance because at the beginning of the month statistical agencies release data on many baseline indicators for the previous year. Preliminary data reveals that the annual GDP growth rate in 2014 was 4.7%, which fell short of the 5% that had been expected. This shortfall was driven by weak performance, growth of just 1.6%, in the last quarter of 2014 (see Chart 1).
This outcome is hardly surprising. As we mentioned in earlier reports, Q4 2013 was marked by growth and Q4 2014 is thus being compared to a relatively high base. However, looking at Chart 2, it is evident that the low growth rate of Q4 was reflective of the generally sluggish trend of growth in 2014.