In the Euro Area (EA), the GDP in real terms registered a nil year-on-year change rate in the 1st quarter of 2012 (0.7% in the 4th quarter of 2011). In April, the economic sentiment indicator decreased slightly and the consumer confidence indicator recovered in the EA. In the same month, the raw materials and oil prices presented monthly change rates of
-1.1% and -4.3% (0.7% and 5.3% in March), respectively.
In Portugal, accordingly with the flash estimate, the GDP in volume recorded a year-on-year change rate of -2.2% in the 1st quarter of 2012 (-2.9% in the 4th quarter of 2011), and a change rate of -0.1% comparing with the previous quarter. This evolution was driven by the less negative contribution of domestic demand. The economic climate indicator increased tenuously in March and April, interrupting the strong downward movement started in October 2010. The economic activity indicator maintained in March the descending path observed since September 2010. The private consumption indicator recorded less intense reductions between January and March, mainly reflecting the lower negative contribution of current consumption. In March, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) indicator diminished more intensely, essentially due to the negative evolution of the construction and transport material components. Concerning the international trade of goods, in nominal terms, exports and imports registered year-on-year change rates of 11.6% and -3.3% in March (10.7% and -5.1% in the previous month), respectively.
In the 1st quarter of 2012, the unemployment rate was 14.9% (0.9 p.p. more than in the previous quarter). The total employees shifted from a change rate of -2.3% in the 4th quarter of 2011 to -4.0% in the 1st quarter of 2012, while total employment diminished 4.2%. This evolution of employment was heterogeneous across the different activities, with a stronger reduction of employment occurring in Construction and in some services activities (Trade and Accommodation and food service activities).
The year-on-year change rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shifted from 3.1% in March to 3.0% in April. Excluding energy and unprocessed food products, the CPI registered a year-on-year growth rate of 1.7% in April (1.9% in the previous month). The differential between the year-on-year change rate of the Portuguese and the EA Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was 0.3 p.p. in April, 0.1 p.p. less than in the previous month.