Ending his weeklong visit to the United States, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva said Monday in San Jose, California, he hopes Portugal will return to economic growth in 2013, at the end of its three-year bailout program.
After a meeting with venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, the President said, “I hope that at the end of the financial rescue accord and if the projections are realized, Portugal will be growing in 2013 and will have a much stronger degree of competitiveness than at present.”
Speaking to journalists, he also said he had found a “sympathetic environment” among US opinion makers as regards Portugal’s commitment to meeting its commitments and as a destination for investment during his visit.
The President cautioned, however, that Portugal’s success also depended on the work of European institutions and developments in its major trading partners, like Germany.
Data released Monday, by Lisbon-based National Statistics Institute (INE), revealed Portugal’s economy shrinking by 0,4% in the third quarter from the second, setting the country on course for a prolonged recession. With an unemployment rate estimated at 12,5%, the government has stated it expects its GDP to contract 1.9 percent this year and 2.8 percent next.
According to a recent opinion poll survey, the majority of Portuguese citizens (96%) perceive the economic situation in their country to be “bad” against the European Union average of 67% for the 27 member states.
Portugal is bound to a 78 billion-euro financial loan negotiated with Brussels and the International Monetary Fund last May, aimed at slashing Portugal’s deficit to 4.6% next year.
During his stay in the United States, President Cavaco Silva met with President Barack Obama in the White House, addressed the UN Security Council, visited Silicon Valley and Stanford University, and met with business leaders and representatives from the Portuguese American resident communities in New York, New Jersey, Washington and California.