Portugal's trade deficit was cut by almost half in January, falling by 48 percent compared with the same month a year earlier to 572 million euros ($744 million), the INE statistics office said on Tuesday.
Although imports fell by 6.9 percent on the year, to around 4.4 billion euros in January 2013, exports -- a key driver of Portugal's ailing economy -- climbed by 5.6 percent to 3.82 billion euros.
Crushed by soaring public debt, Portugal has implemented tough austerity measures in return for rescue loans from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.
Under the weight of the cutbacks in public spending, fresh INE statistics showed that the Portugese economy contracted by 3.2 percent in 2012 -- the worst recession the country has seen since 1975.
For 2013, Portugal's government and central bank have forecast a further 2.0 percent contraction of the economy.