Hungary’s annual GDP growth accelerated to 5.0 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Central Statistical Office (KSH) said in a first reading of data on Thursday.
The rate was well over the 4.5 percent estimate by analysts polled by business daily Világgazdaság.
Growth accelerated from 4.9 percent in both Q3 and Q2, and 4.5 percent in Q1, bringing full-year growth to 4.8 percent.
Adjusted for both seasonal and calendar year effects, GDP growth stood at 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter.
KSH said “most branches of the national economy contributed to growth, market-based services to the greatest degree”.
Commenting on the fresh data in a statement released by his ministry, Finance Minister Mihály Varga said the big contribution of services to GDP growth last year was supported by a six-year agreement on minimum wage rises paired with payroll tax cuts the government reached earlier with employers and unions. The construction sector, boosted by government measures supporting home building, lifted the production branches of the economy, he added.
Varga said the global economy and the region face “political and economic uncertainty” and noted that the European Commission had recently lowered its projection for economic growth in the European Union.
“In the interest of maintaining the high rate of growth in Hungary and keeping it at least two percentage points over the EU average, the government is helping improve competitiveness with a number of measures and is working on an action plan to defend the economy,” he added.