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Real GDP growth decelerated markedly to +2.8% in 2016 from +3.9% in 2015. Demand-side details show that growth was mainly driven by domestic uses (+2.7pp) while net exports made only a tiny positive contribution (+0.1pp). Consumer spending expanded by +3.6%, up from +3.2% in 2015, and public spending by +3.8% (+2.3% in 2015). Meanwhile, fixed investment dropped by -5.5% in 2016, after it had increased by +6.1% in 2015, mainly due to the slow start of EU-funded projects under the new programming period and lower investment activity by SOEs. However, a strong rise in inventories (+1pp) reduced the decline in overall investment to -0.2% in 2016. Exports grew by +8.4% (+7.7% in 2015), slightly slower than imports at +8.7% (+6.6% in 2015). Euler Hermes expects a stabilization in 2017-2018 and forecasts full-year growth of around +3% as domestic consumption should remain robust while investment activity should gradually recover thanks to an increased utilization of EU funds.

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