Portugal avoids recession with second-quarter growth

GMT 22:49 2014 Monday ,08 September

Arab Today, arab today Portugal avoids recession with second-quarter growth

Agronomy University in Lisbon
Lisbon - AFP

Portugal, which exited a multi-billion euro bailout scheme in May, returned to growth in the second quarter, avoiding recession in spite of a banking crisis.
Portugal's gross domestic product grew by 0.3 percent in between April and July, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) said on Monday.
The rebound "is mainly down to the progression of exports of goods and services," the INE said in a statement.
The institute reduced its initial estimate of 0.6 percent growth in the second quarter.
Portugal's economy shrank 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2014, slightly better than the 0.6 percent contraction the INE had reported initially.
Year on year, Portuguese GDP grew 0.9 percent in the second quarter following a 1.0-percent increase in the first three months of 2014 compared to the previous year.
Portugal narrowly avoided dipping back into recession -- defined by two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth -- after a prolonged period of contraction sparked by 2008's financial crisis.
Its economy had been hamstrung by severe austerity measures imposed in return for a 78-billion-euro ($100-billion) bailout in 2011 from the European Union and the International Monetary fund, which Lisbon exited in May.
The main driver of recovery has been an increase in exports, which grew 1.6 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous three months. As a result, foreign demand grew 0.8 percent between April and July, after being down 1.9 percent in the first quarter.
The INE also said on Monday that Portuguese exports were up 1.3 percent in July from the equivalent figure in 2013, slowing from a 7.2-percent year-on-year rise in June.
Portugal is one of several eurozone countries seeking to edge their way out of recession through increasing exports, as a trade surplus contributes to growth.
Consumer spending rose 1.7 percent following a 2.1 percent increase in the previous three months.
However, investments slowed sharply, growing by 4.3 percent in the first quarter compared to 13.4 percent between January and March.
The government last month revised its growth estimate for 2014 down slightly to 1.0 percent, compared with 1.2 percent previously, in part due to a fall off in foreign trade within the eurozone area.
At the same time, it upgraded its employment estimate, predicting the jobless rate would fall from 15.4 percent to 14.2 percent by the year's end.
The fall in joblessness has led to an increase in revenue raised from taxes, allowing the government to redress its 2014 budget without the need for tax increases or spending cuts.  
Portugal narrowly averted a national disaster in August by bailing out the stricken Banco Espirito Santo, one of its largest lenders, thanks to contributions from the financial sector.


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