Bank of Portugal Raises 2015, 2016 Growth Forecasts on Exports

Portugal’s economy will expand faster than previously anticipated this year and next as export growth strengthens, the country’s central bank said.

Gross domestic product will rise 1.7 percent in 2015, 1.9 percent in 2016 and 2 percent in 2017, the Bank of Portugal said in Lisbon on Wednesday. In December, it forecast 1.5 percent for 2015 and 1.6 percent for 2016.

Portugal, which received a bailout in 2011, followed Ireland in May when it exited the aid plan without the safety net of a precautionary credit line. The government now plans to make an early repayment of about 14 billion euros of its International Monetary Fund loan after borrowing costs dropped and the European Central Bank announced a bond-buying plan.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said on March 16 that he hopes the economy will grow more this year than the 1.5 percent pace forecast by the government. The government aims to narrow the budget deficit to less than the EU’s limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product in 2015. Coelho faces elections in September or October.

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