The country’s exports were weaker than expected last month as an upswing in developed economies was slow to come, while emerging markets were suffering from financial uncertainties, the trade ministry said yesterday. Exports for the month came to US$42.99 billion, up 1.6 percent from a year earlier, while imports were US$42.06 billion, up 4 percent, leaving a US$930 million trade surplus.
Economy grew 2% last year
The economy caught a chill at the end of last year, but still managed slightly better than expected growth of 2 percent, the government statistics agency announced on Friday. GDP grew by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter — or at an annualized rate of 2.9 percent — Statistics Canada said, but output was down 0.5 percentage points in December last year from the previous month. Analysts had forecast 1.7 percent growth for the year.
Government raises forecast
The government on Friday hoisted its forecast for economic growth this year to 1.2 percent from the 0.8 percent it had previously given. However, the European Commission, in its latest economic forecasts for the 18-member eurozone on Tuesday, kept Portugal’s growth forecast at 0.8 percent.
Growth slows to 4.7%
Economic growth slowed last quarter, holding below 5 percent and denting the Congress party’s chances of extending its decade-long rule in national elections due by May. GDP rose 4.7 percent in the three months ended Dec. 31 last year from a year earlier, compared with 4.8 in the previous quarter, the Statistics Ministry said on Friday. The government forecasts the economy will expand 4.9 percent in the fiscal year ending March 31, compared with a decade-low 4.5 percent in the previous year.
Trade deficit in January
The country posted a trade deficit in January with a jump in imports, after posting a surplus the month before, official data showed on Friday. The revenue service reported the 17.06 billion rand (US$15.9 billion) deficit against a 26.3 percent increase in imports, while exports improved slightly by 0.1 percent from December last year.
Government bails out Rome
The new government on Friday decreed a payment of 570 million euros (US$787 million) to Rome to prevent the capital sliding into bankruptcy. The move sidesteps a refusal by parliament to divert funds from the country’s stretched coffers to bail out the city. However, the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi ordered Rome to come up with a multi-year plan to balance its books.
Moody’s raises outlook
Moody’s raised its outlook for the country’s “AAA” bond rating to “stable” from “negative” on Friday, citing the lowered risk that Berlin would be called on to prop up weak eurozone economies. Country-by-country progress in the eurozone, and progress in building the EU’s institutional barriers to crisis contagion, meant there was less danger Berlin would have to lead further bailouts, Moody’s said.