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Portugal’s official trade deficit shrinks 43% in June

Portugal’s trade deficit shrank by 43 percent in June from the same month one year ago to 577 million euros ($708 million) due to an increase in exports, the national statistics agency said Thursday.

Exports grew by 9.2 percent to 3.9 billion euros while imports dipped 2.4 percent to 4.5 billion euros.

In the second quarter, exports increased by 6.8 percent and imports dropped by 8.3 percent over the same period in 2011.

The government, struggling to stabilise strained public finances with the help of a 78-billion-euro EU-IMF debt bailout, is counting on exports to get the economy growing again as stiff austerity measures dampen demand.

The economy is expected to shrink 3.0 percent this year, according to Portugal’s central bank.