GDP growth ‘historical maximum’, shows economy recovered – Siza Vieira

  • Lusa
  • 30 July 2021

Pedro Siza Vieira said on Friday that the growth of GDP reached "a historic maximum" and that the economy "recovered well" against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Portugal’s minister of the economy said on Friday that the growth of the Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) reached “a historic maximum” and that the economy “recovered well” against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These are excellent levels,” Pedro Siza Vieira told journalists on the sidelines of his visit to a Madeira wine production and export company in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos during his trip to Madeira today.

He pointed out that the figures released by Statistics Portugal (INE) showed that the country recorded, in the second quarter of this year, “a growth of 15.5% compared to last year, the highest ever recorded in Portugal”.

He added that, in comparison with the previous quarter, the first of 2021, there was a “growth of 4.9% which is the highest so far known in the eurozone and double that seen in the European Union.”

“This means that although we had a big contraction of the economy during the first quarter because of the lockdown, the economy recovered very well, our companies were able to respond to demand when it occurred,” the minister said.

Pedro Siza Vieira added that this data also put the country “on a good footing to reach, at the end of the year, the values that the Bank of Portugal anticipated, plus almost 5% growth in the economy.”

“I would like to point out that this is not only the recovery of domestic consumption but is also driven by a large growth in our exports,” he stressed.

The minister stressed that “Portuguese exports of goods during the first half of this year are above what was seen in 2019”, stressing it is “also a good sign of the competitiveness of exporting companies”.

He reinforced that this data “is a good sign” because it indicates that the economy is managing to create jobs.

He recalled that on Thursday, it was announced that Portugal had reached “the maximum employed population in its economic history” because it registered a “large reduction in unemployment” and “large job creation.

“Therefore, let’s see if we can recover from this extremely violent impact that the pandemic meant for our companies,” he stressed.

Pedro Sousa Vieira said that the easing measures announced on Thursday by Prime Minister António Costa, after the Council of Ministers cabinet meeting, could “continue to see an acceleration in the economy’s growth and reach the end of the year in a good situation.

The minister said it was “imperative that companies were able to protect their jobs,” using support launched by the government across the country.

He highlighted the importance of the almost three billion euros directed to support the business fabric, on a non-refundable basis, during the first six months of this year, which “gave companies the capacity to hang on”.

“Let’s now see if, with the recovery of tourism and domestic economic activity, we can accelerate and consolidate these gains,” he pointed out.

Siza Vieira said that, given what he has observed in Funchal, “with great activity in the accommodation and catering sector,” he expects this to “pronounce good signs for the third quarter.

The minister is on an official visit to Madeira today, having signed a memorandum with the regional government allowing Madeiran companies to access the Banco Português de Fomento lines of credit directed at the business sector visited a technology company, and will meet with businesspeople and the Mayor of Funchal.