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Portugal Economy


Portugal has become a diversified and increasingly service-based economy since joining the European Community in 1986. Over the past decade, successive governments have privatized many state-controlled firms and liberalized key areas of the economy, including the financial and telecommunications sectors.

Economy – overview:

The country qualified for the European Monetary Union (EMU) in 1998 and began circulating the euro on 1 January 2002 along with 11 other EU member economies. Economic growth had been above the EU average for much of the past decade, but fell back in 2001-04 and it is now one of the worse performing economies in the EU. GDP per capita stands at two-thirds that of the Big Four EU economies. A poor educational system and an abysmal level of corruption in government, in particular, has been an obstacle to greater productivity and growth. Portugal has been increasingly overshadowed by lower-cost producers in Central Europe and Asia as a target for foreign direct investment. The government faces tough choices in its attempts to boost Portugal’s economic competitiveness while keeping the budget deficit within the eurozone’s 3%-of-GDP ceiling. After 2 bail outs from the IMF and ECB Portugal has consistently missed its own austerity targets. Unemployment is increasing rapidly and government ability to rein in spending is at best mediocre. The coalition government PSD/CDS is short of a circus and the President who is constantly tied to corruption events in the past two decades is dangerously steering the country towards potential social unrest.


$275 billion

GDP – real growth rate:


GDP – per capita: 

External Debt:

$515 billion

Inflation rate:

Public Debt (% of GDP):


Labor force:

6.1 million

Unemployment rate:


Investment (gross fixed % of GDP):


Industrial Producion Growth Rate:



47 billion


68 billion

Labor force – by occupation:

agriculture 10%, industry 30%, services 60% 

Population below poverty line:


Agriculture – products:
Grain, potatoes, olives, grapes, sheep, cattle, goats, poultry, beef, dairy products


Textiles and footwear; wood pulp, paper, and cork; metals and metalworking; oil refining; chemicals; fish canning; rubber and plastic products; ceramics; electronics and communications equipment; rail transportation equipment; aerospace equipment; ship construction and refurbishment; wine; tourism

Electricity – production:

44 billion kWh

Electricity – consumption:

48 billion kWh

Oil – production:

4,700 bbl/day

Oil – consumption:

272,200 bbl/day 

Oil – exports:

28,830 bbl/day (2001)

Oil – imports:

357,300 bbl/day (2001)

Natural gas – consumption:

4.8 billion cu m 


$47 billion 

Exports – commodities:

clothing and footwear, machinery, chemicals, cork and paper products, hides

Exports – partners:

Spain 25%, France 14%, Germany 13.5%, UK 9.6%, US 6%, Italy 4.3%, Netherlands 4% (2004)


$60.35 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Imports – commodities:

machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, petroleum, textiles, agricultural products

Imports – partners:

Spain 29.3%, Germany 14.3%, France 9.3%, Italy 6.1%, UK 4.6%, Netherlands 4.6% (2004)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:

$10.36 billion 

Currency (code):

euro (EUR)
note: on 1 January 1999, the European Monetary Union introduced the euro as a common currency to be used by financial institutions of member countries; on 1 January 2002, the euro became the sole currency for everyday transactions within the member countries

Fiscal year:

Calendar year