Portuguese economy grew 0.9 pct in 2014

Portugal’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded in the three months through December at the fastest pace in a year as external demand increased.

GDP rose 0.5 percent from the third quarter, when it expanded 0.3 percent, the country’s National Statistics Institute said in a preliminary report last week.

For the year of 2014, GDP rose 0.9 percent after shrinking 1.4 percent in 2013.

While exports rose last year, a recovery in internal demand also drove GDP growth, the statistics agency said.

The Portuguese Government forecasts GDP will grow 1.5 percent in 2015, faster than its estimate of 1-percent growth for 2014. It projects unemployment will decline to 13.4 percent in 2015.

The European Union earlier this month raised the growth forecast for Portugal. It predicted Portugal’s economy would grow by 1.6 percent in 2015 instead of 1.3 percent forecast in November.