In February, AE's economic sentiment indicator increased as a result of the recovery of confidence levels in industry, services and, to a lesser extent, consumers and construction. The prices of raw materials and oil presented rates of 5.4% and 14.4% compared with the previous month, respectively (10.2% and 9.6% in January).
In Portugal, the information available for January and February, in the context of new restrictive measures to respond to the pandemic, reveals a significant reduction of economic activity. The amount of national withdrawals, payment of services and purchases at automatic payment terminals carried out on the automatic teller machines of the Multibanco network registered, in year-on-year terms, a reduction of 25.7% in February, more intense than in the previous month (-18.7%). Motor vehicles sales decreased more pronouncedly, from a year-on-year rate of change of -30.5% in January to -59.0%, while sales of light commercial vehicles decreased by 17.8% (-19.2% in the previous month) and heavy vehicles increased 19.2% (-20.8% in January).
In February, the Consumer confidence indicator diminished, after increasing in the previous two months, less markedly in January. The economic climate indicator intensified in February the reduction observed in the previous month, decreasing to a level close to that observed in July 2020. In February, there were marked decreases in the confidence indicators of Trade and, in particular, of Services, while in Construction and Public Works, the indicator decreased slightly. Conversely, the Manufacturing Industry confidence indicator increased in the last month.
According to the provisional monthly estimates of the Labour Force Survey, both the unemployment rate (15 to 74 years) and the labour underutilization rate increased and the unemployment decreased in January. In the same month, the employment indices of short-term indicators decreased 2.5% in industry, 4.6% in retail trade and 8.5% in services, and increased 0.1% in construction (year-on-year rates of change of -3.0%, -4.7%, -8.4% and -0.1% in the previous month, in the same order). The worked hour’s indices, calendar adjusted, presented year-on-year rates of change of -7.1% in industry, -13.6% in retail trade and -16.1% in services (rates of -5.7%, -6.5% and -11.0% in previous month, in the same order).
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) accelerated, with a year-on-year rate of change of 0.5% in February (more 0.2 percentage points than that recorded in the previous month), with the goods component registering a year-on-year rate of change of 0.5% (0.3% in January), while the services component grew by 0.6% (0.4% in the previous month).
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