In the first quarter of 2020, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) registered a year-on-year growth rate of -2.3% in volume, after an increase of 2.2% in the previous quarter. The contraction of the economic activity reflected the COVID-19 pandemic impact which, in the last month of the quarter, had already a significant impact. The contribution of net external demand to GDP year-on-year rate of change was negative, shifting from 1.1 percentage points in the fourth quarter to -1.3 percentage points, reflecting the more intense reduction of Imports of Goods and Services (-4.9%) than of Exports of Goods and Services (-2.0%). Domestic demand presented a negative contribution (-1.1 percentage points), for the first time since the third quarter of 2013, as private consumption and Investment diminished.
In comparison with the fourth quarter of 2019, GDP decreased by 3.8% in real terms (+0.7% in the precedent quarter), with a negative contribution from net external demand (-1.8 percentage points) to the quarter-on-quarter rate of change of GDP, after a positive contribution of 1.5 percentage points in the previous quarter. Domestic demand registered a more negative contribution than in the previous quarter, shifting from -0.7 percentage points to -2.0 percentage points in the first quarter.
Despite the circumstances determined by the pandemic COVID-19, Statistics Portugal will try to maintain the statistical production and release calendar, although some adjustments might occur associated with the impact of the pandemic in obtaining primary information. For this reason, Statistics Portugal asks for the best collaboration by firms, households and public entities in answering to Statistics Portugal‘s requests to obtain information, using Internet and telephone as alternative channels to face-to-face contacts. The quality of official statistics, particularly its ability to identify the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, depends crucially on this collaboration that Statistics Portugal is grateful for in advance.