The Jornal de Negocios online published this full-page headline: “The Bank of Portugal expects in 2017 the highest growth of the century.” Strong words for a newspaper which is not exactly pro-left and / or close to leftist governments.
The growth in gross domestic product for 2017 is forecasted at 2.5 percent, higher than the 2 percent anticipated just a few months ago. A positive cycle that promises to hold for 2018 and 2019, where the GDP trend marks a +2 percent and +1.8 percent, respectively.
These projections are much higher than the forecast for the EU. This is one of the arguments in the current debate that, finally, after 17 years, Lisbon returns to converge with Europe.
The GDP growth is not the only fundamental index that shows a positive trend. Soon, Portugal should overcome the procedure for excessive deficit; after eight years of slippage, the deficit has finally fallen below 2 percent, which will allow higher spending margins in the future.
Is the expansionary austerity paying off? No, perhaps the source of such a strong performance shouldn’t be looked for at the level of domestic consumption, since this indicator has grown only 2 percent. Actually, perhaps this is the weak number because, due to strong household debt, the number isn’t very high. No, the basis of growth is a substantial 10 percent increase in exports. Again, the predictions were much lower (+6 percent).