"If we want to ignore the behavior of productivity and look only at the evolution of GDP, a convergence of two tenths a year (as in 2018) means that it would take 130 years to reach the European Union average," says the Forum for Competitiveness, in its February balance sheet. That is, Portugal on average in the European Union only in 2149.
The Forum also warns that in 2018 the balance of current and capital accounts was 903 million euros (0.5% of GDP), just over a third of the surplus of 2,699 million in 2017. And that "the slowdown of exports, especially tourism services, could jeopardize the preservation of positive external balances by 2019. "
In 2019 and 2020, even Greece will grow more than Portugal, according to the Forum led by Pedro Ferraz da Costa.
Portugal's fourth-quarter GDP growth (1.7%) was slightly worse than expected, on the export side, which was heavily affected by occasional effects in ports. "For the year as a whole, there was a growth of 2.1%, a clear deceleration to 2.8% in 2017, and an appreciable deviation from the government estimate (2.3%)," he said.
"It is true that the external environment is decelerating, but the bad behavior of exports results mainly from the disruption in ports, which should not be repeated in the following quarters. Already the external slowdown can be accentuated "
"Employment, in terms of national accounts, grew by 2.3% in 2018, more than the rise of 2.1% of GDP. That is, productivity fell 0.2%, "reads the note.
In relation to the fourth quarter, there was the same loss of productivity, with employment increasing by 1.9% compared with a rise of 1.7% of GDP, warns the Forum.
"With employment rising 2.3%, if productivity was also rising, as with countries at our level of development, GDP could be growing by 4%," the Forum added.
According to the European Commission (European Semester 2019), "Portugal has one of the lowest investment rates in the EU," the Forum points out.
At the same time, Portugal faces multiple investment constraints. "In other words, it seems that we are creating our own problems", says the Forum for Competitiveness.