Ukraine's economy expanded by 1.5 percent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2012, down from 2.5 percent in the first half of this year, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said here Wednesday. "It is a positive result, taking into the account the range of negative external and internal factors, the recession in the leading European countries and collapse of commodity markets and capital markets," Azarov told a government meeting. The cooling down was mainly due to a contraction of industrial output, which decreased by 0.4 percent year-on-year in the period from January to August, Azarov said, adding that the construction sector, which dropped by 8 percent, has been the most affected by the macroeconomic slowdown. The country's mining industry expanded by 3.2 percent, while retail sales rose 16 percent year-on-year during the first eight months of 2012, giving impetus to Ukraine's economic development, Azarov said. Ukraine's economy expanded by 5.2 percent last year and its growth rate was expected to slow down to 3.9 percent in 2012.