Portugal’s economy contracted drastically in the first quarter as both domestic demand and exports weakened due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic from March, flash estimates from Statistics Portugal showed on Friday. Gross domestic product decreased 3.9 percent from the fourth quarter, when the economy expanded 0.7 percent. Domestic demand dropped 1.9 percent, exports fell 7.3 percent and imports decreased 2.9 percent. On a year-on-year basis, GDP decreased 2.4 percent in the first quarter after a 2.2 percent increase in the previous three months. Net exports made a negative contribution of 1.4 percent. Domestic demand also contributed negatively, -1 percent, for the first time since the third quarter of 2013 amid decreases in private consumption and investment.
In a bid to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, Portugal closed schools and universities on March 16 and declared a state of emergency on March 18 that led to the temporary closure of several economic activities and the restriction on the free movement of persons, the statistical office said.