Portuguese GDP Resumed Growth in Fourth Quarter as Exports Rose

Portugal’s gross domestic product expanded in the three months through December from the prior quarter as a rise in exports helped offset a drop in investment.

GDP rose 0.2 percent from the third quarter, when it was unchanged, the Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute said in a preliminary report on Friday. Economists predicted a 0.4 percent increase, the median of six estimates in a Bloomberg survey showed. The euro-area economy expanded 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

The Portuguese economy expanded 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, the slowest pace of annual growth since the fourth quarter of 2014. For the year of 2015, GDP rose 1.5 percent after expanding 0.9 percent in 2014.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa was sworn in at the end of November and his minority Socialist government plans to reverse state salary cuts faster than the previous administration proposed, while increasing indirect taxes. Costa is also raising the minimum wage and reducing the working week for state workers as he aims to remove some measures introduced during the bailout program that ended in 2014.

The government on Feb. 5 cut the 2016 growth forecast it had presented two weeks earlier to 1.8 percent. The statistics institute on Wednesday said Portugal’s unemployment rate rose to 12.2 percent in the three months through December from the previous quarter.

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