Despite a substantial fiscal expansion and a higher-than-expected oil price, a sharp slowdown in hydrocarbon production (4.2 percent) hampered growth recovery in 2018. It is estimated that growth stood at 1.5 percent, down from the projected 2.5 percent in October 2018, before the extent of hydrocarbon production decline was apparent. Nonetheless, thanks to strong demand, strong growth was noted in: agriculture (6.9 percent), construction (4.6 percent), and non-government services (3.8 percent).
Fiscal consolidation may resume in the second half of 2019. This is expected to cause a slight slowdown in the non-hydrocarbon sector for 2019, offsetting a slight increase in hydrocarbon production. As a result, real GDP growth is projected at 1.9 percent. With the lower oil price, both the fiscal deficit and the current account deficit are expected to worsen, reaching 8.5 and 8.1 percent of GDP respectively. Inflation will remain contained.