September 28, 2018 / 11:07 AM / 2 months ago

Georgia's economy grows 4.8 pct yr/yr in Jan-Aug, up from 2017

TBILISI, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Georgia’s economic growth accelerated in the first eight months of 2018, rising 4.8 percent year-on-year compared with 4.7 percent in the same period of 2017, preliminary data showed on Friday.

Growth in August alone was 2 percent year-on-year, down from 4.6 percent in July and from 4.3 percent a year earlier. The highest growth in August was registered in the financial sector, trade, transport and real estate operations.

The former Soviet republic hosts pipelines carrying Caspian oil and gas to Europe. Georgia is recovering from a decline in exports and a plunge in the currencies of its main trading partners, which have depressed economic growth in recent years.

In 2017 Georgia recorded growth of 5 percent as exports recovered and remittances from abroad rose. The fastest growing sectors were the processing industry, services and real estate.

The government expects growth of 4.5 percent in 2018 overall.

Fitch Ratings may upgrade Georgia’s sovereign credit rating if the country maintains strong economic growth and macroeconomic stability and further improves its finances, the agency’s analyst told Reuters earlier this month.

Fitch reaffirmed Georgia’s long-term foreign currency rating at “BB-“ with a positive outlook last month. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; editing by Richard Balmforth)

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