Growth, employment, deficit and debt. Is Portugal a front-runner or is the country in the rear-end of the European peloton?

  • ECO News
  • 24 April 2018

Eurostat disclosed the numbers for growth, unemployment, deficit and debt of all 28 EU countries in 2017. Is Portugal a front-runner or is the country in the rear-end of the economic recovery peloton?

Lídia Leão/ ECO

This Monday, Eurostat revealed that, including Caixa Geral de Depósitos, the Portuguese deficit is the second worst in Europe. However, even excluding CGD’s recapitalization, Portugal is still on 19th place in the ranking of European fiscal balances. ECO gathered the latest indicators from Eurostat to understand where does Portugal stand in comparison to other member-States of the European Union, in a time of economic recovery in Europe. Although it improved, Portugal is still on the rear end in most indicators.

Starting out with the deficit: Eurostat insists on including CGD’s recapitalization in the 2017 deficit, leading it to stand at 3%, leaving only Spain with a worst result. Without CGD, the deficit is 0.9%, leaving Portugal in 19th place in a ranking that included 12 member-States with a fiscal surplus.

Fiscal balance: Portugal stands on 19th place, without CGD

Source: Eurostat. GDP percentage.

Portugal also shows a very high public debt ratio, according to this Monday’s data. Even with the setbacks it has been registering in debt ratio, which fell to 125.7% in 2017, Portugal has the third highest ratio. It is only behind Greece and Italy, and it is followed by Belgium and Spain, which are already below the 100% of GDP threshold.

Portuguese public debt is the 3rd highest

Source: Eurostat. Percentage numbers.

Portugal has also significantly improved its performance in the unemployment numbers. In most recent data, Portuguese unemployment rate was standing below the 8% threshold, reaching numbers that hadn’t been registered since 2004. However, in the European framework, these numbers aren’t great: Portugal is in the rear end of the table. Although it is far from the 20.8% rate in Greece, Portugal is in 20th place in the ranking of unemployment rates.

Portugal has the 9th worst unemployment rate out of the 28 members

Source: Eurostat. Percentage numbers.

And GDP growth? Numbers are good, considering the history of economic growth in Portugal. INE (Statistics Portugal) grew 2.7% in 2017, which is well above the country’s average. Nonetheless, looking at the annual growth in other European countries, the scenario is less bright for Portugal. Only 10 other countries grew less than Portugal in 2017.

GDP growth: Portugal is in 18th place

Source: Eurostat. Percentage numbers.

The country was slightly better placed if we regard quarter-on-quarter growth. In 2017, in total, Portugal  grew 2.7%, and from the third to the fourth quarter of 2017, it grew 0.7%. In comparison to other EU country’s quarter-on-quarter growth, it rises by one position and stands on 17th place.

Quarter-on-quarter growth

Source: Eurostat. Percentage numbers.