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This week, the national economy has continued to defy projections and detractors by releasing a host of positive figures. Besides shrinking dole queues and increasing consumer confidence, Prime Minister António Costa has predicted that the budget deficit for 2016 is set to be its lowest since Portugal became a democracy.

Prime Minister António Costa has used the release of exceptionally positive economic indicators to forecast that the country is set for further good news in the coming weeks.

“Portugal is growing and its rate of growth in the third quarter of last year was the highest in the whole of the European Union”, the Prime Minister said this week.

He added that initial numbers for the final three months of 2016 “not only show consolidation of existing growth, but that they are even better than the previous numbers.”

The Prime Minister also revealed that there has “been balanced growth between internal and external demand and similarly between consumption and investment.”

António Costa added that “companies are investing and employment figures are absolutely clear”, referring to the fact that unemployment fell two percentage points to 10.2 percent during the course of last year.

“In overall terms, 100,000 new jobs were created last year”, he said.

The budget deficit, for so long the Achilles heel of the Portuguese economy also appears to have shrunk to historically low numbers.

“Today we are certain that the deficit for 2016 will not be higher than 2.3 percent, which means its lowest on record for 42 years”, or rather since the start of a democratic Portugal.

In the meantime, on following up on an improvement recorded in December, Portugal’s consumer confidence indicator has once again risen to reach its highest value since April 2000, Statistics Portugal (INE) said.

According to INE, the rise in the consumer confidence indicator in January was mainly due to the positive contribution of the outlook for unemployment and expectations about the country’s economic situation.

This was followed soon after by news that Portugal’s unemployment rate had fallen to 10.2 percent in December 2016, according to a provisional estimate from the INE. The statistics agency further kept its figure of 10.5 percent for November, unchanged, the lowest since April 2009. 

The provisional estimate of the unemployed population in December was 519,500 people and the total employed population was 4.587 million people.

Article published by The Portugal News (