RIGA, Latvia (AP) — Latvia's economy grew 5.6 percent last year — the best performance among the 27-country European Union — thanks to robust trade and manufacturing.

The national statistics agency said Monday that growth accelerated from 5.4 percent in 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012, gross domestic product increased 5.1 percent.

Though Latvia is enjoying fast growth, it remains one of the poorest of the bloc's 27 members.

After several years of rapid expansion, the country's economy entered a deep recession in 2008 and had to be bailed out by international lenders such as the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

The Baltic state's center-right government hopes to phase in the euro in 2014, which would make it the 18th member in the currency union.