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Portugal’s quarterly growth picks up on exports

(Recasts, adds details on exports, demand)

LISBON, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Portuguese economic growth picked up pace in the fourth quarter as exports rose, although the economy slowed in 2019 as a whole for the second straight year in the wake of a big expansion in 2017, official data showed on Friday.

The National Statistics Institute (INE) said in its flash estimate that fourth-quarter gross domestic product grew 2.2% from a year earlier after expanding 1.9% in the preceding three-month period, bringing the full-year expansion to 2%.

That was down from 2.4% growth registered in 2018, due to a weaker positive contribution from internal demand, while both exports and imports slowed down, INE said.

Despite cooling off from 3.5% growth in 2017, Portugal has steadily outperformed the euro zone’s average expansion in the past few years. Euro zone economic growth slowed in the last three months of 2019 to just 0.1% quarter-on-quarter, for a 0.9% year-on-year gain.

On a quarterly basis, Portugal’s GDP expanded 0.6% from the preceding three months, when growth was 0.4%, with net external demand contributing positively after a negative contribution in the previous quarter. (Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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