President Marcelo
Image: António Cotrim/ Lusa

Exit from economic crisis may take “a little longer” – president

January unemployment figures signal international developments “slow”

Portugal’s president Marcelo has warned that the exit from the economic crisis may “take a little longer” than expected.

Talking to reporters at the opening of Lisbon’s BTL (tourism fair) the country’s head of State said today’s data showing unemployment is increasing is a “warning sign” – signalling “international developments are slow”.

The country’s 7.1% level of jobless – announced by statistics institute INE – represents an increase (albeit slight) on December figures, which themselves were an increase on numbers registered in November.

All this, in Marcelo’s perspective, means the international economy has a way still to go: the war continues, inflation is still high in many countries. “Even major European powers like Germany are experiencing slow progress and because it is an open world, that has effects”, he said.

But on the other hand, Portugal has the advantage in its tourism sector, which is “doing very well” and will “increase progressively during the year”. Indeed he went so far as to say “Portugal is in fashion: it was in 2019, it withstood the pandemic – hard, 2020, 2021 – in 2021, turning to 2022, it went up, up, up. 2022 beat 2019 records and this year we will beat 2022…”

And there is the added bonus of economic growth last year (6.7%).

“We already know that in 2023 such growth is not possible”, Marcelo said, stressing the is neither a pessimist or a “raving optimist”: “I like to be in a very serene and very realistic and intermediate position”.

With the cost of living ‘crisis’ very much in the public eye following last weekend’s demonstrations in Lisbon – and suspicions that large supermarkets are ‘taking advantage of the crisis to increase the costs of food more than necessary – he agreed that the competitions authority should be keeping a close eye on prices.

Source material: LUSA