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Lusa - Business News - Portugal: Economy seen growing 2.7% in 2017, driven by investment, exports

Lisbon, Feb. 12 (Lusa) - Portugal's economy expanded 2.7% last year, the fastest rate of growth since 2000, driven by increases in investment and exports, according to an average of analysts' estimates canvassed by Lusa.
The National Statistics Institute (INE) is on Wednesday - the day after Carnival Tuesday, an effective holiday - to release its flash estimate of the national accounts for the fourth quarter of last year, with the average estimate surveyed by Lusa for a 0.6% quarter-on-quarter increase and a 2.4% year-on-year increase in gross domestic product.
If these figures are confirmed, that represents an acceleration in the quarter-on-quarter rate from the previous quarter but a slowdown in the year-on-year rate. In the third quarter these rates were 0.5% and 2.5% respectively.
On average in 2017, the economy would have expanded by 2.7%, which according to João Borges de Assunção, a professor at Lisbon's Catholic University, is one of the "healthiest [rates of growth] since Portugal entered the single currency" in 1999. The last time growth was as strong or stronger was 2000, when it reached 3.8%.
António da Ascensão Costa, a professor at Lisbon's Higher Institute of Economy and Management (ISEG), told Lusa that it was "probable that with 2017 growth GDP in real terms [excluding inflation effects] has reached the levels of 2010, before the troika, that is before the budget crisis", to more than €179 billion. He noted that initial forecasts for 2017 were for growth of 1.7%, making the final outturn a "good result".
Ascensão Costa also highlighted faster growth in private consumption, which is seen up 2.5%, as well as in investment, "which went from growth of one percent in 2016 to nine or ten percent in 2017". Public consumption, by contrast, marked time.
The chief economist at mutual Montepio Geral, Rui Serra, said that growth had accelerated thanks above all to investment, "which grew at a good rate last year", although this entailed more imports of equipment, resulting in a "slight negative contribution to net exports".
Export growth of some 7% last year, along with investment, are also seen as key factors by Borges de Assunção, who also points to the boost that came from economic recovery in the euro zone as a whole and from a more expansionary budget policy in Portugal, which "may also have made a small contribution to short-term growth" as the reversal of earlier cuts in public sector workers' pay was completed.
In the state budget for 2018, tabled in October, the government revised its forecast for 2017 growth to 2.6% from the previous 1.8%. In December the International Monetary Fund fell into line with that, estimating growth of 2.6%; last week, the Europen Commission went further, estimating 2.7%.


Agency : LUSA

Date : 2018-02-13 09:31:17


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