Portugal has something more to celebrate than winning the Eurovision Song Contest as we learned that the economy grew at its strongest pace in nearly a decade in the first three month of the year.
It expanded 2.8 percent compared to the same period last year and was up 1.0 percent from the previous quarter.
The better than expected GDP performance was helped by strong exports and improved investment as well as tourism.
“These positive numbers confirm continuous growth that began in mid-2013 and also an acceleration of the pace of the expansion, which is new,” said Filipe Garcia, head of Informacao de Mercados Financeiros consultants in Porto.
He attributed growth to a wider European setting of super low interest rates, European Central Bank’s bond-buying programme that reduces country risk, as well as Portugal’s own improvements, principally its tourism boom and a real estate market that has lured foreign investment.
The budget deficit fell to a record low last year though Portugal still has one of the eurozone’s highest levels of public debt.
Last month the government forecast that growth for the whole of this year will be one point eight percent.
The country has also benefited from an increase in overseas visitors as part of the switch to Mediteranean destinations because of security concerns.
Portugal’s tourism revenue rose by more than 10 percent last year reaching a record 12.6 billion euros.