In May, consumer confidence and economic sentiment indicators in the Euro Area (EA) partially recovered from the decreases observed in April. In the same month, the prices of raw materials and oil presented monthly growth rates of 2.2% and 59.3%, respectively (-4.0% and -56.6% in April).
In Portugal, not considering three-months moving averages (see next section), the information already available for May reveals a less intense contraction in economic activity, when compared to the previous month. Consumer confidence and economic climate indicators partially recovered in May from the strong reductions in April. By activity sectors, confidence indicators increased moderately in Construction and Public Works and Trade but decreased again in Manufacturing and Services, reaching new minimums.
The overall amount of national withdrawals, payment of services and purchases at automatic payment terminals carried out on the automatic teller machines of the Multibanco network decreased by 26.6% in May, on year-on-year terms, after presenting the largest reduction in the series in April (-38.6%). The information regarding motor vehicles sales registered rates of change of -74.8%, -51.3% and -68.5% for passenger cars, light commercial vehicles and heavy duty vehicles (-87.0%, -69.9% and -72.7% in April, respectively).
According to the Fast and Exceptional Enterprise Survey carried out together by Statistics Portugal and Banco de Portugal with weekly inquiry, point to an improvement in the enterprises situation in the 1st fortnight of June. The percentage of enterprises in operation increased from 92% in the 2nd fortnight of May to 95% in the 1st fortnight in June, with the Accommodation and food services sector standing out, where the percentage increased from 59% to 77%. Given the situation that could be expected without the pandemic, 68% of the enterprises reported a negative impact on turnover (compared to 73% in the previous fortnight). The Accommodation and food services and Transport and storage sectors were the ones where more enterprises reported reductions in turnover (88% and 77% respectively).
According to the provisional monthly estimates of the Employment Survey, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (15 to 74 years) was 6.3%, 0.1 percentage points above the definitive rate observed in March (6.6% in April 2019). The provisional estimate of labour underutilisation rate was 13.3%, increasing 0.9 percentage points from the previous month and 0.3 p.p. from April 2019. The estimate for the employed population (15 to 74 years old), also seasonally adjusted, decreased 1.2% when comparing to the previous month and 1.8% in year-on-year terms (rate of change of -0.5% in March).
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) presented a year-on-year rate of change of -0.7% in May (rate of change of -0.2% in April), with a -2.1% rate of change in the goods component (-1.2% in the previous month) and 1.2%, as in the previous month, in the services component.
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.