Georgia's economic growth expands 5% year-on-year in Jan-Aug

TBILISI, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Georgia’s economy expanded 5% year-on-year in the first eight months of 2019, up from 4.8% growth in the same period of 2018, preliminary data showed on Monday.

In August, gross domestic product grew by 5.8% compared with the same month a year ago, after expanding 6.1% year-on-year in July. In August 2018 the growth was 2%.

The fastest growth in August this year was registered in trade, transport, real estate, construction, processing industry and services. But there were declines in activity in the metallurgy, production and distribution of electricity, natural gas and water industries.

Georgia’s economy expanded 4.7% in 2018.

The government expects growth this year of at least 5%, although central bank Governor Koba Gvenetadze told Reuters this month that GDP might be 4.5% because of a dispute with neighbouring Russia and amid anti-government protests.

Fitch upgraded Georgia’s long-term foreign currency rating to “BB” from “BB-” with a stable outlook in February.

Moody’s rating agency affirmed Georgia’s BA2 rating earlier this month with a stable outlook. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Alison Williams)