TBILISI, Oct 31 (Reuters) - Georgia’s economy expanded 5% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2019, up from a growth rate of 4.9% over the same period of 2018, preliminary data showed on Thursday.
In September, gross domestic product grew by 5.2% compared to the same month a year ago, easing from August’s 5.8 pct year-on-year reading.
The fastest growth in September this year was registered in trade, transport, real estate and construction, as well as the processing industry and hospitality sector. There were declines in activity in the metallurgy, electricity distribution, 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 in September that GDP might be 4.5% because of a dispute with neighbouring Russia and anti-government protests.
Fitch Ratings in August revised its growth forecast for Georgia down to 4.3% from a previous estimate of 4.6% and from the 4.7% registered in 2018, citing a ban on direct flights from Russia which Moscow implemented in July.
Moody’s rating agency affirmed Georgia’s Ba2 rating in September with a stable outlook. (Reporting by Margarita Antidze; editing by Kirsten Doonvan)