Number of registered unemployed in the Algarve soars 178% in August

  • Lusa
  • 21 September 2020

Data from the Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) show that since March, the Algarve is the region with the most pronounced year-on-year increases in unemployment.

The Algarve region recorded the highest year-on-year increase in the number of unemployed registered in job centers in August, rising 177.8% to 20,425, according to data released on Monday.

Data from the Institute for Employment and Professional Training (IEFP) show that since March, the month in which the state of emergency began due to the pandemic, the Algarve is the region with the most pronounced year-on-year increases in unemployment.

Before the pandemic, in January and February, the Algarve was the only region in the country to register an increase in the number of registered unemployed, but with slight increases of 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2019.

In March, the increase in the number of unemployed in the Algarve soared to 41.4%, rising to 123.9% in April, 202.4% in May, 231.8% in June and 216.1% in July, having then recorded an increase of 177.8% in August (13,072 more people than a year ago).

Still, compared to the previous month, the number of unemployed in the Algarve region fell by 10.2% in August, i.e., there were 2,425 fewer registered unemployed than in July.

Also, job offers in the Algarve region fell 24.7% in August compared to the same month in 2019, to 510, but increased 4.6% compared to the previous month.

According to the IEFP, unemployment increased in August in most regions, with the exception of the Azores, where it fell by 1.3% to 7,040 registered unemployed.

The Lisbon and Tagus Valley region recorded the second highest year-on-year increase in August, after the Algarve, with a 48.1% rise to 91,140 registered unemployed.

The regions of Alentejo followed, where the number of registered job seekers grew 27.1% to 14,268, and Madeira, with 26.6%, to 14,925 unemployed.

In the North region, the number of unemployed registered rose 24.1% in August, to 127,281, while in the Centre the increase was 22.7% to 42,323.

In the country, the number of unemployed registered in the employment centers increased 34.5% in August in year-on-year terms and 0.5% compared to July, according to the IEFP.

At the end of August, 409,331 people were registered with the employment services of the mainland and islands, 0.5% more than in July (2,029 more people).

Millions and more millions: How the EU subsidies will be spent in Portugal

  • ECO News
  • 21 September 2020

Portugal's prime minister defined three major blocks for overcoming the crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.

In the Recovery and Resilience Programme, which António Costa will present to Brussels, the State defines three major priorities to overcome the crisis caused by the new coronavirus pandemic: “Resilience”, “Climate Transition” and “Digital Transition”. The first is what will absorb the biggest ‘slice’ of the 12.9 billion grants that the country will get from Europe.

Distribution of funds for each block:

Resilience: 7.2 billion euros

“Resilience” is by far the pillar that will receive the most money. In this bloc, which brings together social vulnerabilities, productive potential and competitiveness and territorial cohesion, the government plans an 7.2 billion euros investment.

Social Vulnerabilities: This includes the National Network of Integrated Continued Care, Palliative Care, equipment for hospitals, but also restructuring Portugal’s social housing – 3.2 billion euros.

Productive potential: Aggregates investment and innovation with professional qualifications, but also “business capitalisation and financial resilience/development bank” – 2,500 million euros.

Competitiveness and Territorial Cohesion: combines the land register, aerial means for rural fires, but also the Algarve Water Efficiency Plan, besides the Pisão Dam – 1.5 billion Euros.

Climate transition: 2.7 billion euros

Sustainable mobility: This provides for the use of EU funds for light rail and Bus Rapid Transit lines, the renewal of rolling stock in suburban and regional areas and the decarbonisation of public road transport – 975 million euros.

Decarbonisation and Circular Economy: This includes the programme to support the decarbonisation and increase energy efficiency of businesses, but also the bio-waste strategy – 925 million euros.

Energy Efficiency and Renewables: The government plans to use funds in this field under the “Support Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings”, but also includes the National Strategy for Hydrogen and Renewable Gases – 800 million euros.

Digital switchover: 3 billion euros

Digital School: Government plans to use part of the money received in non-repayable funds to digitise schools, be it through equipment or infrastructure, educational and human resources – 700 million euros.

Business 4.0: Provides support for the digital transition of businesses, including e-commerce, but also the empowerment of businesses and workers to digitisation – 500 million euros.

Public Administration: Within this block, it is the one that absorbs the largest “tranche”, which is used for the digital capacity building of Justice, the Single Portal of public services, the training and qualification of the Public Administration, but also foresees the management of online wealth and cybersecurity – 1.8 billion euros.

Covid-19 claims eight more lives; 623 new cases in last 24 hours

  • ECO News
  • 21 September 2020

The number of people infected with coronavirus continues to increase and in the last 24 hours, there have been 623 new cases. Most continue to be concentrated in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region.

Portugal now has eight more deaths related to Covid-19 and 623 new cases of infection, according to the epidemiological bulletin of the Directorate General of Health (DGS) on Monday.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Portugal has registered 1,920 deaths and 69,200 cases of infection.

The DGS indicates that three deaths were registered in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, four in the North region and one in the Centre region.

In surveillance are 40,465 contacts, 1,103 more than on Sunday.

Portugal’s economic indebtedness in July stood at €740B

  • ECO News
  • 21 September 2020

The non-financial sector indebtedness increased again in July. It reached 740 billion euros, close to the highest level ever.

After the fall observed in June, the indebtedness of households, corporations and the government increased again in July. It rose from around 4.6 billion euros to 740 billion euros, close to its all-time high, according to data released by the Bank of Portugal this Monday.

The non-financial sector indebtedness is at around 600 million from its highest level ever reached in May 2020. The pandemic is to blame, which forced the government and other economic agents to spend more money due to the new coronavirus outbreak.

In terms of the wealth produced by the country, the non-financial sector indebtedness soared by 20 percentage points in the last quarter, from 340.8% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in March to 360.2% of GDP at the end of June.

The Bank of Portugal explains that the increase registered in July (compared to June) was essentially due to “3.9 billion raise in public sector indebtedness and by the 0.7 billion euros increase in private sector indebtedness.”

Detailed by sector, the institution led by Mário Centeno said that the rise in public sector indebtedness reflected the growth in debt vis-à-vis the rest of the world (2.7 billion euros), vis-à-vis the financial sector (1.7 billion euros) and vis-à-vis corporations (400 million euros). “The increase of financing granted by the external sector (2.7 billion euros), the financial sector (1.7 billion euros) and the corporations (0.4 billion euros), partly offset by the reduction of financing granted by the general government (1.1 billion euros),” The Central Bank adds.

The increase in corporations’ indebtedness by 500 million euros resulted from a rise in financing granted by the financial sector (800 million euros), “which was partly offset by a reduction in external indebtedness (300 million euros).”

The households’ financing from the financial sector increased by 200 million euros.

EDP’s Chinese shareholder joins the US blacklist

  • ECO News
  • 21 September 2020

The China Three Gorges (CTG) has over 20% of EDP and has been on the US government's blacklist since August 28.

China Three Gorges (CTG) is EDP’s largest shareholder with a 21.55% stake and has been on the US government’s so-called “blacklist” since 28 August. This list, published and regularly updated by the US Ministry of Defence, includes dozens of companies that are considered “Chinese communist military companies”. The American market, it should be noted, is the most important for EDP, through EDP Renováveis.

The drafting of lists of Chinese companies operating directly or indirectly in the US is not new to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1999, but only recently, and in response to an American senator, the government released the first list in June, highlighting Huawei, as well as companies from various sectors such as technology, construction, aerospace, energy, and nuclear. On August 28, the list was updated, this time including CTG as a company with military interests.

What is this “blacklist” for? It is specially developed to be taken into account in US public procurement. If a company is on the list, it may be prevented from selling goods or services to the US government because it is now considered a “supply chain risk”, i.e. a risk in the logistics chain for reasons of state security, and the areas of technology and energy are among the most scrutinised.

The inclusion of CTG in this list does not mean that there are immediate sanctions by the US government, even less for affiliated companies, such as EDP, but it is immediately a risk stamp for private partners that have or will have business with the state or depend on it.

Officially, no one comments, but the company’s management does not expect consequences from this decision by the US Department of Defence in relation to the CTG. EDP Renováveis has already closed at least one major transaction after publishing this list, an agreement to sell 80% of a portfolio of wind and solar parks in the US for 570 million euros.

In any case, it should be remembered that the US market is the most important for EDP Renováveis, the company which is more than 80% controlled by EDP itself.

DBRS maintains BBB rating, notes ‘severe’ impact of Covid-19

  • Lusa
  • 21 September 2020

The Canadian DBRS Morningstar has maintained Portugal's sovereign debt rating at BBB, while notes the "severe" impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy.

DBRS Morningstar, a Canadian credit ratings agency, has maintained the Portugal’s sovereign debt rating at BBB (high), with a stable outlook, while notes the “severe” impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the country’s economy.

In a note released on Friday, the agency stresses the “disruption” caused to the economy by the global health crisis.

In March, DBRS had also issued a note maintaining Portugal’s rating and outlook, while stressing that the “small and open” nature of the country’s economy made it vulnerable to any crisis.

A credit rating expresses the credit risk – that is, the ability of an issuer, whether a country or company to pay its debt. A ‘stable’ outlook indicates that no rating change is expected soon.