For the whole of 2017, the economic performance of the Czech Republic improved 4.5%. That represents the second-highest dynamics of the past 10 years. The second quarter presented the biggest surprise as it recorded a notable acceleration thanks to private investment. In contrast, the second half of the year disappointed. Private consumption recorded continuous growth throughout the whole of 2017 and served as the biggest contributor to economic dynamics. The Czech economy also benefited from global recovery. Despite solid import dynamics, the trade balance contributed positively to the GDP increase.
We expect similar developments in 2018. Private consumption will continue to benefit from the record-low unemployment and strong wage growth. Sound investment activity is set to continue, and the EU funds inflow is set to strengthen. However, investment and consumption are import-intensive, which will be reflected in the trade balance. We expect no contribution from external trade this year.