Economy: Exports fall, imports rise and unemployment down in Q1

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Portugal’s balance of payments deficit for trade widened slightly in February in line with a continued deterioration over the past year.

It increased by €170 million like-for-like to €991 million (excluding fuel, the increase was €118 million, to €646 million).

Exports grew 6.2% in nominal and like-for-like terms in February, or 5.6% on the quarter to that month.

Imports grew 8.5% and 6.8% respectively. The export of transport materials was buoyant (25% YoY on the quarter to February, as well as food products, machine equipment and industrial components. In terms of imports there was demand for transport materials, machines, equipment and industrial components as well as perishable and non-perishable consumer goods. Portugal’s European export markets were dynamic in the first quarter with YoY growth of 11.8% and 8.2% to France and Germany. There was a decline in exports outside Europe (-22.6% YoY to Angola and -4.3% to the US).

The unemployment rate continued to fall to 7.8% in January and 9.9% in February with an overall increase of 3% in employment and a fall of 19.7% YoY in unemployment. In March 2018 inflation climbed from 0.6% to 0.7% YoY.