In March, the consumer confidence indicator increased slightly in the Euro Area (EA), while the economic sentiment indicator stabilized. In the same month, the raw materials and oil prices presented monthly change rates of -2.4% and -6.3% (0.5% and 0.3% in February, respectively).
In Portugal, the economic climate indicator, already available for March, increased. The economic activity indicator diminished in February, interrupting the positive movement observed since August. The quantitative indicator of private consumption presented a lower year-on-year growth rate in February, reflecting the less intense positive contribution of the non-durable consumption component. In the same month, the Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) indicator accelerated due to the behaviour of the construction and the transport material components. It should be mentioned that the economic activity, private consumption and investment indicators refer to new series, which are described at the end of this publication.
Concerning the international trade of goods, exports and imports recorded year on-year nominal change rates of 13.3% and 14.7% in February, respectively (12.9% and 14.7% in January). Considering the economic activity from the production perspective, the industry and services turnover indices registered a deceleration in February. The construction and public works production index accelerated in February.
The provisional monthly estimate for the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (15 to 74 years old) was 10.0% in February (0.1 p.p. below the definitive rate observed in January), which compares with a rate of 10.5% three months earlier and 12.2% one year earlier. The estimate for the employed population (15 to 74 years old), seasonally adjusted, showed an increase of 2.8% comparing with February 2016 (2.7% in January) and a 0.1% change rate comparing with the previous month (identical rate in January).
The year-on-year change rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 1.4% in March (1.6% in February), with a change rate of 1.5% in the goods component (1.7% in the last month) and 1.2% in the services component (1.4% in February).