Portuguese GDP was confirmed to have fallen 1.8%qoq and 3.8%yoy in Q4. The fact that GDP disappointed in most European countries suggests that some calendar effect may be at play. Moreover, in Portugal, Q4 GDP may have been affected by a change in seasonality due to the holiday pay cut for civil servants. Throughout 2013, the seasonality will be further affected by the fact that the holiday pay may be paid, to those employees who wish it, over twelve months rather in one installment. These changes may not be fully captured by the Statistics Office and may lead to sharp variations in GDP during the year. Though some of these factors are likely to be corrected in Q1, today’s data still paints the picture of a very weak economy.
Private consumption contributed the most to the decline, with -1.5 p.p qoq., but this is also the category likely to have been most affected by those seasonal factors.