In March, the Euro Area (EA) economic sentiment indicator registered a slight decrease, as in the previous month. The prices of raw-materials and oil presented monthly rates of change of -1.8% and -5.0%, respectively (0.4% and 0.7% in February).
In Portugal, the manufacturing price index decelerated in the last eight months, significantly in February and March, recording a year-on-year rate of change of 7.1% (12.4% in the previous month). Excluding the energy component, this index increased by 8.3% year-on-year (10.8% in February). The index for consumer goods recorded a year-on-year change of 11.5% (14.8% in the previous month), decelerating for the fourth consecutive month, after reaching in November the highest growth of the current series (16.2%).
The year-on-year rate of change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) decelerated to 7.4% in March, 0.8 percentage points less than in the previous month. The index for unprocessed decelerated, from 20.1% in February, the highest growth rate since May 1990, to 19.3% in March. On the external side, the implicit prices of exports and imports of goods, in February, decelerated for the sixth consecutive month, to year-on-year growths of 7.1% in exports and 4.4% in imports (8.1% and 7.0%, respectively, in January).
The short-term indicators for economic activity from the perspective of production, available for February, point to a slowdown in Industry and in Services in nominal terms, and in Construction in real terms.
From the expenditure side, the economic activity and the private consumption indicators decelerated in February, while the Gross Fixed Capital Formation indicator increased in year-on-year terms, following the decrease observed in the previous month. The economic climate indicator, which summarizes the balances of responses to questions relating to business surveys, increased between January and March, after having stabilized in the previous month.
According to the provisional monthly Labour Force Survey, the unemployment rate (16 to 74 years old), seasonally adjusted, was 6.8% in February, 0.2 percentage points less than in the previous month (6.5% in November and 5.6% February 2022). The labour underutilization rate (16 to 74 years old) stood at 12.0%, 0.2 percentage points below the value recorded in January (11.8% in November and 11.1% in the same period of the previous year). The employed population (16 to 74 years old), seasonally adjusted, increased by 0.6% in year-on-year terms and 0.5% compared with the previous month (year-on-year rate of change of 0.2% in January).