Scarcity of sectoral GDP trends

From the national accounts for Q1 2018 we highlight the five best performing sectors. We cover only those sectors accounting for at least 1% of GDP at constant basic prices, and exclude other services. We are measuring performance in q/q terms and comparing it with the previous quarter. There are challenges to this approach since the data from the NBS are not seasonally adjusted and the fourth quarter is generally the strongest of the year due to the demand boost in the main holiday season. We are in search of momentum and any response to government policy.


  • Since GDP contracted by -13.4% q/q in Q1 and trade, which we view as the barometer of economic activity, by -11.6%, we did not expect many strong performances.
  • The best performer was crude petroleum and natural gas, which is largely exported. It benefited from an improvement in security (decline in sabotage/production leakages). Average output rose to 2.00 mbpd in Q1 from a revised 1.95 mbpd the previous quarter. We assume that there was a rise in gas production to match.
  • Financial and insurance was the second best performer, posting a second successive quarter of growth. Particularly striking was the 36.0% q/q growth of insurance, the junior partner in the segment.
  • Manufacturing tells several stories. Its second component (textile, apparel and footwear) contracted by -7.1 q/q and would be a leading beneficiary of household demand in Q4. Cement, in contrast, managed 2.6% growth, reflecting demand from both the government and the private sector.

Sources: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Research
  • The data, to be honest, offer few clues as to the depth and basis of the modest economic recovery.


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