May 24. 2024. 6:17

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Exit from economic crisis may take longer than expected, Portuguese president

The exit from the economic crisis may take a little longer than expected, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa told journalists on Wednesday, adding that he considers the unemployment figures to signal that international developments are slow.

Asked if the unemployment figures – which, according to monthly data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), stand at 7.1%, with January being the third month in a row in which there was an increase. Rebelo de Sousa said that this data is a “warning sign”.

Speaking to journalists at the Lisbon Tourism Fair (BTL), Rebelo de Sousa added that the rise in unemployment is a sign “that international developments are slow, that the war continues, that inflation is still high in many countries, that the international economy has not recovered.

“Even major European powers like Germany are experiencing slow progress, and because it is an open world, that has effects,” he said.

“Therefore, I would say, always with caution, that the exit from the crisis period – which comes from the past, the pandemic aggravated it, and the war also aggravated it, it has many factors -is an exit that may take a little longer than some expected,” he said.

Despite this, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa considered that the fact that, in 2022, the Portuguese economy grew by 6.7% in “gross domestic product” is “good news”.

“Now, we already know that in 2023 such growth is not possible and, therefore, we will see exactly what the economy’s evolution will be. You know how I am: I belong neither to the pessimists nor to the raving optimists, and therefore I like to be in a very quiet and very realistic and intermediate position,” he said.

Asked also if he believes that, since inflation in food products has risen and reached 20%, the Competition Authority should keep an eye on prices, Rebelo de Sousa said: “Certainly, certainly”.

“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,” he added.

(Tiago Almeida |