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Portuguese economy weak but steadying: official data

Portugal’s economy contracted by a 0.1 percent in the first quarter from output in the last three months of 2011, and by 2.2 percent on a 12-month basis, official data showed on Tuesday.

It was the smallest quarterly decline since Portugal fell into recession in late 2010.

The 12-month rate also marked an improvement from the last three months of 2011, when economic activity declined by 2.9 percent, with the INE statistics service underscoring a more moderate decline in domestic demand.

As part of an international rescue package worth 78 billion euros ($100 billion), Portugal has undertaken a raft of austerity measures and expects economic activity to contract by 3.3 percent this year.

The economy shrank by 1.6 percent in 2011 according to estimates by the government, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.