According to the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat), Catalonia’s GDP grew by 2.0% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous quarter. GDP growth was driven by an increase in domestic demand (2.0%), which was up 0.8 percentage points from the previous quarter thanks to the recovery of gross capital formation (3.9%). Total exports grew by 3.2%, a slower rate than in the previous quarter.
In the third quarter, the rate of GDP growth in Catalonia was the same as that for Spain as a whole (2.0%) and 0.6 percentage points above the rate for the EU-28 (1.4%). Quarter-on-quarter GDP growth in Catalonia (0.4%) was 0.1 percentage points lower than in the previous quarter, 0.1 percentage points higher than the rate for the European economy (0.3%) and the same as that of the Spanish economy as a whole.
Domestic demand increased significantly, from a growth rate of 1.2% in the second quarter of 2019 to 2.0% in the third quarter. There were significant differences in the trend for the components of domestic demand. Household consumption grew by 1.1%, up 0.1 percentage points from the previous quarter, though within a moderating trend observed since the second quarter of 2018. Consumption by public administrations grew by 2.6% in the third quarter (up 0.5 percentage points from Q2). Finally, gross capital formation is where growth accelerated most with respect to the previous quarter, to a rate of 3.9%, which makes it the most dynamic component of domestic demand once again. This increase in investment is the result of a positive trend in capital goods (6.4%). In contrast, investment in construction (0.8%) contributed little to domestic demand and continued on the downward trend of recent quarters.
With respect to the external sector, total exports grew by 3.2%, which was 2.1 percentage points lower than in the previous quarter. Despite this slowdown, exports continued to perform relatively well compared to the rates recorded since the second quarter of 2018. The results for this quarter can be attributed to a positive trend in exports of goods and services (2.8%) and, above all, to better figures for tourism revenue, as reflected in the increase in consumption by foreigners in Catalonia (5.6%). Total imports continued to grow, at a rate of 1.7%, 0.6 percentage points lower than in Q2. Imports of goods and services slowed to a growth rate of 1.4%, but consumption by the population residing abroad continued to show signs of dynamism, posting year-on-year growth of 6.6%.
On the supply side, services and construction recorded positive growth rates, in contrast to industry and agriculture, which experienced a slowdown.
The services sector continued to grow strongly, at a rate of 3.0%, up 0.1 percentage points from Q2. Growth was driven mainly by the strong performance of real estate, professional and other activities (3.6%) and public administration, education, health and social services (3.2%). The most modest growth rate recorded was for commercial, transport and hospitality activities (2.1%). In contrast, construction grew by 3.5%, but with a clear trend towards deceleration (down 0.9 percentage points from Q2).
Year-on-year growth for industry was in negative territory (-0.6%), exactly the same as in the previous quarter. According to industrial production indicators, the strongest-performing activity groups in the third quarter included water supply (12.8%), electric power (8.4%), and manufacture of transport material (6.2%).
In contrast, the activity groups where the trend was most negative include the extractive industry (-8.7%) and graphic arts (-8.0%). Finally, the agricultural sector continued to experience negative growth (-2.8%), 0.5 percentage points lower than in the previous quarter.