In March, the economic sentiment and the consumer confidence indicators slightly recovered in the Euro Area (EA). In the same month, the raw materials and oil prices presented monthly change rates of 0.7% and 5.3% (2.8% and 5.2% in February), respectively.
In Portugal, the economic climate indicator increased tenuously in March, interrupting the strong downward movement started in October 2010. The economic activity indicator, available until February, accentuated the negative change rate observed since October 2011. The private consumption indicator recorded less intense reductions in January and February, mainly reflecting the lower negative contribution of current consumption. In the same period, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) indicator also diminished less intensely. Concerning the international trade of goods, in nominal terms, exports and imports registered year-on-year change rates of 10.2% and -6.0% in February (11.3% and -7.1% in the previous month), respectively.
The year-on-year change rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) shifted from 3.6% in February to 3.1% in March. In the same month, the goods and the services components of CPI presented year-on-year growth rates of 3.2% and 3.1% (3.7% and 3.4% in February), respectively. Excluding energy and unprocessed food products, the CPI registered a year-on-year growth rate of 1.9% in March (2.2% in the previous month). The differential between the year-on-year change rate of the Portuguese and the EA Harmonized Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) was 0.4 p.p. in March, 0.5 p.p. less than in the previous month.