LISBON, Portugal – Portugal’s central bank has given an upbeat assessment of the country’s economic outlook, with an export-driven recovery taking national output close to a pre-2008 level within two years.
The Bank of Portugal revised its economic forecasts upward Wednesday. It now expects growth of 1.8 percent this year, 1.7 percent next and 1.6 percent in 2019.
Exports are seen surging 6 percent this year after a 4.4 percent increase last year, while unemployment is predicted to fall from 11.1 percent in 2016 to 7.9 percent in 2019. The jobless rate hit 16 percent in 2013, two years after Portugal needed a 78 billion-euro ($84 billion) bailout.
Portugal’s budget deficit has also fallen to a 42-year low of 2.1 percent. However, the three main ratings agencies still classify Portuguese debt as junk.