The Portuguese Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased, in year-on-year terms, by 2.4% in volume in the first quarter of 2020, after the increase of 2.2% in the previous quarter. The contraction in economic activity reflects the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has already been felt significantly in the last month of the quarter. The contribution of net external demand to the year-on-year GDP rate of change was negative in the first quarter (-1.4 percentage points), after being positive in the previous quarter, as a result of the more intense reduction in Exports of Goods and Services than in Imports of Goods and Services. Domestic demand registered a negative contribution (-1.0 percentage points), for the first time since the third quarter of 2013, with a decrease in private consumption and in Investment.
When compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, GDP fell by 3.9% in real terms (quarter-on-quarter rate of change of 0.7% in the previous quarter). This result is explained by negative contributions of net external demand to the quarter on-quarter GDP rate of change (-2.0 percentage points, after being positive in the previous quarter), and of domestic demand (-1.9 percentage points), which was more negative than in the previous quarter (-0.7 percentage points).
Despite the circumstances determined by the pandemic COVID 19, Statistics Portugal will try to maintain the statistical production and release calendar, although some adjustments might occur associated with the impact of the pandemic in obtaining primary information. For this reason, Statistics Portugal asks for the best collaboration by firms, households and public entities in answering to Statistics Portugal‘s requests to obtain information, using Internet and telephone as alternative channels to face-to-face contacts. In fact, the quality of official statistics, particularly its ability to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.