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Portugal’s economy returns to growth in 2014

Portugal’s economy returned to growth in 2014 with an expansion of 0.9 percent, after contracting by 1.4 percent the year before, the country’s national statistics office Ine said Friday.

It was the first full-year of economic growth in Portugal since 2010.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s centre-right government, which faces a year-end general election, and the European Commission had predicted the Portuguese economy would expand by 1.0 percent last year.

Portuguese economic growth accelerated at the end of 2014, expanding 0.5 percent in the fourth quarter after growing 0.3 percent in the previous three months.

The improvement in economic activity was due to “a recovery in household consumption and, to a lesser extent, investments,” the statistics office said in a statement.

The figures from the statistics office confirmed provisional figures for the period published on February 13.

Portugal in May exited a three-year, 78-billion-euro ($88-billion) bailout programme from the European Union and International Monetary Fund but the government still has to cut spending to meet budget targets.

It forecasts GDP will grow by 1.5 percent in 2015 while unemployment will decline to 13.4 percent.