Portugal: Economic growth picks up in Q4, powered by a stronger external sector
According to preliminary estimates released by the country’s Statistical Institute (INE) on 14 February, GDP grew 0.6% in quarter-on-quarter, seasonally-adjusted terms in the fourth quarter, up slightly from the third quarter’s revised 0.4% expansion (previously reported: +0.3%). The fourth-quarter uptick brought annual growth for the full year to 2.0% for 2019, down from 2018’s 2.4% expansion.
While a detailed breakdown will not be released until 28 February, the preliminary estimate indicated that the external sector drove the quarterly acceleration after subtracting from growth in Q3. Domestic demand, however, dragged on the overall figure in the final quarter of the year. Slowing retail sales suggested weaker private consumption growth, while fixed investment is also expected to have lost traction.
Looking ahead, softer domestic demand is set to drag on economic activity this year, amid downbeat consumer confidence and a steep decline in fixed investment growth. However, an uptick in income growth, a tightening labor market and subdued inflationary pressures bode well for private consumption, while industrial output is well placed to bounce back from 2019’s contraction.