Portugal’s Economy Grows for a Fourth Quarter on Investment

Portugal’s gross domestic product expanded for a fourth quarter in the three months through March as investment and household spending increased.

GDP rose 0.4 percent from the fourth quarter, when it also expanded 0.4 percent, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said on its website today. That matches a preliminary report on May 13. GDP rose 1.5 percent from a year earlier, the biggest annual increase since the third quarter of 2010.

While Portugal emerged from recession during 2013, Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho still has to cut spending to meet budget targets and the government forecasts exports and investment will help drive growth this year. Portugal in May 2014 exited a three-year bailout program from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, and Coelho faces elections in September or October.

Government spending was unchanged in the first quarter from the previous three months, while household spending rose 0.8 percent and investment climbed 5.3 percent. Imports rose 2 percent and exports fell 0.3 percent, today’s report showed.

The government on April 16 raised its growth forecast for 2015 and said it sees the economy accelerating in the following two years. GDP is projected to expand 1.6 percent this year, more than a previous estimate for 1.5 percent growth. The economy grew 0.9 percent in 2014, after contracting in the previous three years.

The statistics institute on May 6 said Portugal’s unemployment rate climbed to 13.7 percent in the three months through March, a second quarterly increase.

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