The FINANCIAL -- "According to the preliminary data of March 2018, the real GDP growth equals to 5.6% compared to the previous year. In addition, as reported by the GeoStat, the average growth in the first quarter of 2018 is 5.2%," - the First Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili stated at the briefing on economic growth.
As the First Vice Prime Minister noted, in January 2018, the GDP growth was 4.4%, which was respectively followed with 5.5% in February and 5.6% in March.
Highlighting the main contributing factors of the real GDP growth, Dimitry Kumsishvili singled out the following fields, which positively affected the current data: processing industry, transport, other utility, social and personal services, and real estate. In addition, according to the First Vice Prime Minister, the positive growth of service exports has also resulted in the increase of the economic growth.
As of March 2018, the turnover of enterprises registered in Georgia (which are observed for economic growth) has increased by 12.1% compared to the same period of previous year, while the number of newly registered enterprises amounted to 4 786 units, according to Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.
The First Vice Prime Minister also talked about the positive dynamics of income from tourism. According to him, a significant share of 5.2% growth of the economy in the first quarter comes to the tourism sector. In particular, annual revenues from international tourism grew by 31.3% (56.3 million USD) and amounted to 236.5 million USD. The total share of tourism in the economic growth is about 3.35%. In January-March of 2018, revenues from tourism grew by 28.8% (125.5 million USD) and amounted to 560.4 million US dollars.
As for the number of visitors, it was increased by 15.5% in January-March and reached 1 463.6 thousand, including the number of tourists, which was increased by 28.2%. According to the First Vice Prime Minister, the positive trend remains in the direction of the EU countries, from which the following countries prevail in terms of the visitors coming to Georgia: Spain (79%), the United Kingdom (53%), the Netherlands (46%), Germany (27%), France (24 %), etc.
Dimitry Kumsishvili estimates that the significant share of 5.2% growth of the economy in January-March of 2018 (preliminary estimates) comes to foreign trade. In January-March, exports increased by 28.4% compared to the same period of the previous year and reached 740.3 million USD while in in the same period of the current year, the foreign trade turnover in Georgia (without undeclared trade) amounted to 2 823.8 million USD, which is 23.3% more than the previous year.
The First Vice Prime Minister drew particular attention to foreign turnover in EU countries. According to the Minister, Georgia's foreign trade turnover in January-March 2018 with EU countries equals 820.1 million USD, which is 27.6% more compared to the previous year. The total value of export is 209.4 million USD (31.4% increase) while the share of imports amounts to 610.7 million USD (26.4% increase).
"The share of these countries in the foreign trade turnover of Georgia amounted to 29.0%, including exports with 28.3% and imports 29.3% (28.1%, 27.7% and 28.7% respectively in January-March 2017,” - the First Vice Prime Minister stated.
According to Dimitry Kumsishvili, other factors that promote the growth such as the high rate of net money transfers have also been positively affected. In particular, according to the Minister, the net money transfers were increased by 15.7% and its volume amounted to 110 million USD. "Money transfers are one of the key components of the domestic demand, therefore its growth will be reflected positively on the economic growth," – Dimitry Kumsishvili noted.
According to the Minister, current and planned structural reforms will contribute to the structural improvement of the economy and the growing potential of the country’s GDP. As Dimitry Kumsishvili noted, high positions of Georgia in international ratings will give the country even more stimulus, especially in terms of attracting the additional investments.