Portugal exports grew by 1.9 pct in 2014

Portugal’s total exports grew last year but the expansion rate slowed compared to 2013, data from Statistics Portugal showed on Monday.

Exports of goods increased by 1.9 percent year-on-year in 2014 to 48.2 billion euros (US$54.6 billion). The growth was slower than the 4.5 percent improvement recorded in 2013.

Imports grew at a faster pace than the year-prior period as domestic demand improved in 2014. Imports – which grew by 0.9 percent in 2013 – increased by 3.2 percent last year, according to official data.

Goods shipped to European Union countries, Portugal’s main export bloc, rose by 3.6 percent in 2014 while imports from those countries rose 2.5 percent. Meanwhile, exports to places outside the European Union rose 7 percent, said the statistics office.

The country’s trade deficit grew by 9.6 percent for the whole of 2014 to 10.6 billion euros.

Portugal should return to economic growth in 2014 after three years of slump caused by a debt crisis and austerity measures applied under an international bailout.