According to Geostat’s rapid estimates, real GDP grew by 3.4% in March, while the growth rate for Q1 stood at 2.3% year over year. The estimated first quarter growth was 0.5 percentage points less than ISET-PI’s GDP forecast for the quarter. We have updated our forecast for Q2 based on the new information and lowered it from 5% to 4.2%; at the same time, the Q3 forecast was revised upward to 4.3%.
According to GeoStat estimates, real GDP grew by 2.6% year over year in February 2016. This growth rate is an improvement over the 0.8% growth observed in the previous months. Still, in order to reach the predicted quarterly 2.9% growth (the ISET-PI forecast for Q1 real growth), the economy would have to have expanded by at least 5.4% in March. While the actual growth for March is likely to be lower than that figure, the increases in the consumer and business confidence indices (CCI, BCI) in the last month can be interpreted as good signs for the economy going forward.
According to GeoStat data, real GDP growth was 0.8% in January and 2.8% in February 2016. While these figures are by no means high, growth rates in the rest of the region are expected to be quite low this year. In this respect, in contrast to its neighbors, Georgia is performing reasonably well.
The year 2015 was one of turbulence. It was a year in which the institutional foundations of the Georgian economy were tested. However, as our analysis shows, the country’s macroeconomic institutions exhibited remarkable resilience in the face of various shocks. This bodes well for future growth prospects. Thus, in the spirit of Lewis Carroll’s adage “take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves” we can give one piece of advice to Georgian policymakers: take care of the foundations, and the facade will take care of itself.
According to the most recent rapid estimates of economic growth by GeoStat, in November 2015 the Georgian economy increased by 5.3% compared to the same month the year before. The 5.3% increase represents the highest growth rate in nearly 15 months. This optimistic outcome should, however, be treated with a degree of caution.