Saturday, November 14, 2009


Portugal foge da recessão com ajuda das exportações
A economia portuguesa está a conseguir, mais cedo do que se esperava, afastar-se dos cenários de recessão. Os números ontem revelados pelo INE mostram que Portugal está outra vez a crescer.
Ritmos diferentes na zona euro

European recession ends with a whimper
By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt and Ben Hall in Paris
The eurozone emerged from recession in the third quarter of this year, but the speed of its escape fell short of expectations – and the pace set by the US.
Eurozone gross domestic product expanded by 0.4 per cent compared with the previous three months, after having previously contracted for five consecutive quarters, according to official figures on Friday.
Powering the rebound were Germany and Italy, which saw GDP rising by 0.7 per cent and 0.6 per cent respectively. France’s recovery, however, proved much weaker than expected, with an increase of just 0.3 per cent, the same as in the previous quarter.
Eurozone economies were hit harder than the US by the slump late last year and early 2009. Previous GDP figures had taken economists aback by showing France and Germany had already exited recession in the second quarter.
But the latest news will intensify concerns that the recovery could splutter next year. The eurozone was driving ahead “with the handbrake on”, warned Jörg Krämer, chief economist at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
US economy expanded by 0.9 per cent in the third quarter, although the UK was still in recession. So far the eurozone recovery has been driven by temporary factors – less aggressive de-stocking by industry and emergency stimulus measures – as well as a pick-up in exports on the back of stronger global demand.
Those factors will continue to boost growth and economists are unlikely to revoke recent upward revisions to forecasts for next year, which typically see eurozone GDP expanding by more than 1 per cent after a near 4 per cent contraction in 2009.
Purchasing managers indices had suggested France was performing better than Germany and inventories acted as an unexpected brake on French third-quarter GDP, creating scope for improvement in the current quarter. But Gilles Moec, European economist at Deutsche Bank, warned that “after a while, all this could run out of puff if household demand does not pick up, and I don’t see it picking up in the context of deteriorating labour markets”.
Despite government subsidies for car purchases, French consumer spending was flat in the third quarter – while Germany reported a fall. The US and UK were more likely to benefit from a credit-fuelled pick up in consumer spending once the banking sector recovered, Mr Moec argued.
Eurozone growth prospects remain blighted by Spain – hit badly by its property market collapse and soaring unemployment – which is not expected to emerge from recession until well into next year.
At the same time, exporters face a strengthening euro. Weakness in the banking system could also be an obstacle. The International Monetary Fund last month calculated that eurozone banks had recognised only 40 per cent of anticipated writedowns, against 60 per cent in the US.
Last week, the European Commission warned that “if the banking sector does not repair its balance sheet, the credit channel is likely to remain impaired, posing a major downside risk to the sustainability of the recovery”. Like the European Central Bank, the commission remains cautious about the recovery’s strength.
But eurozone labour markets – which have so far seen small rises in joblessness – could continue to surprise. Economists took heart from data showing a slowdown in French job losses. According to Insee, the national statistical agency, there were only 5,500 net job losses in the third quarter, after 271,000 in the first half of the year. As in France, German unemployment rises have been curbed by government subsidies.
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