In March, the consumer confidence and the economic sentiment indicators declined in the Euro Area (EA). In the same month, the raw materials and oil prices presented monthly change rates of 3.8% and 18.7%, respectively (1.3% and 2.6% in February).
In Portugal, the economic activity indicator stabilized in February, after decelerating in the two previous months. The economic climate indicator increased March, after being relatively stable in the two previous months. The quantitative indicator of private consumption presented a higher year-on-year growth in February, reflecting the acceleration of the non-durable component. The Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) indicator registered a slight deceleration, due mainly to the negative contribution of the construction component. Concerning the international trade of goods, exports and imports recorded year-on-year nominal change rates of -1.2% and 1.4% in February, respectively (0.4% and 0.3% in January). Considering the economic activity from the production perspective, the industry and services turnover indices registered negative change rates in nominal terms in the last months, partially reflecting reduction of prices. In the case of industry, the respective price index maintained a negative change rate and the industrial production index, although decelerating, maintained a positive growth in February. The construction and public works production index presented the same negative change rate in January and February.
According to the provisional monthly estimates of Labour Force Survey, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (15 to 74 years old) was 12.3% in February. Since May 2015, the monthly estimates of this rate have fluctuated in a narrow range between 12.1% and 12.4%. The employed population (15 to 74 years old), seasonally adjusted, increased 0.2% in year-on-year terms in February, and presented a change rate of -0.3% in the last month comparing with previous month.
The year-on-year change rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 0.4% in February and March, 0.4 percentage points lower than in the previous month, with change rates of -0.4% and 1.7% in the last month for the goods and the services components, respectively.