Unemployment in Portugal expected to total 14.5 pct this year

29 February 2012

Lisbon, Portugal, 29 Feb – Unemployment in Portugal will continue to rise and is expected to reach a rate of 14.5 percent this year, Portugal’s Finance Minister, Vítor Gaspar said Wednesday in Lisbon.

The new figure, which was put forward by the minister is an increase on the 13.4 percent outlined in the State Budget for 2012 as well as a projected worsening of current figures, given that the latest unemployment figures calculated by the National Statistics Institute point to a rate of 14 percent in the last quarter of 2011.

The minister also revised the estimate on Gross Domestic Product performance, and now expects GDP to contract by 3.3 percent, which is the same as the figure recently announced by the European Commission, rather than 3 percent as had been initially projected.

“The Finance Ministry lowered its projections for economic activity in Portugal,” said Gaspar noting that the review was in lined with the “significant” deterioration of the outlook for economic activity in Europe and in the rest of the world this year.

Gaspar confirmed that Portugal had passed another assessment by the “troika” (European Commission, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund) and by April should receive the third tranche of funding totalling 14.9 billion euros. The assessment looked at structural reform, credit to the economy and the problem of outstanding debts owed to suppliers. (macauhub)