In the Euro Area (EA), in the 4th quarter 2011, the GDP in real terms registered a year-on-year change rate of 0.7% and -0.3% comparing with the previous quarter. In January 2012, the economic sentiment and the consumer confidence indicators diminished in the EA.
In Portugal, according to the flash estimate, the GDP in volume recorded a year-on-year change rate of -2.7% in the 4th quarter of 2011 (-1.8% in the previous quarter), and a change rate of -1.3% comparing with the previous quarter. This evolution was driven by the significant decline of the negative contribution of Domestic Demand, mainly reflecting the decrease of Investment and of Households’ Final Consumption Expenditures. On a monthly basis, the economic climate indicator decreased again in January, maintaining the downward movement started in October 2010. The economic activity indicator, available until December, extended the descending path observed since September 2010. The private consumption indicator presented a stronger reduction in December, reflecting the more significant negative contribution of durable consumption. In the same month, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) indicator diminished more intensely. Concerning the international trade of goods, in nominal terms, exports and imports registered year-on-year change rates of 12.4% and -10.5% in December (15.6% and -3.4% in the previous month), respectively.
In the 4th quarter of 2011, the unemployment rate was 14.0% (more 1.6 p.p. than in the previous quarter) and 12.7% for 2011. The total employees shifted from a change rate of 0.1% in the 3rd quarter to -2.3% in the 4th quarter.
The year-on-year change rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shifted from 3.6% in December to 3.5% in January. This slight deceleration in January occurred in a context of an increase in the VAT rates for several goods and services, with a mechanical impact estimated to be 1.1 percentage points. The goods and the services components of the CPI presented year-on-year growth rates of 3.9% and 2.8% in January (4.4% and 2.5% in December), respectively. Excluding energy and unprocessed food products, the CPI registered a year-on-year growth rate of 2.1% in January (2.3% in the previous month). The differential between the year-on-year change rate of the Portuguese Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) and the estimate of the EA HICP was 0.7 p.p. in January, 0.1 p.p. less than in the two previous months.