By Irina Savu
June 3 (Bloomberg) -- Romania’s economic decline slowed in the first quarter as growing demand in western Europe boosted industrial output and exports, partly offsetting a plunge in construction and consumption.
Gross domestic product dropped 2.6 percent from a year earlier after a 6.5 percent decline in the previous three months, according to final data from the National Statistics Institute in Bucharest. The economy shrank a quarterly 0.3 percent. The figures show no revision last month when the institute released preliminary data for the first quarter.
Romania suffered its worst recession in at least 20 years in 2009 as booms in construction and commerce collapsed. The recession wiped out gains made in 2008 when the economy grew 7.1 percent, the fastest pace in the European Union, which the country joined in 2007. Shrinking government revenue and pressure on the leu forced the government to turn last year to international lenders for a bailout package.
The International Monetary Fund, which is leading a 20 billion-euro ($25 billion) bailout loan, predicts the economy may contract this year by as much as 0.5 percent due to weak demand.