Portugal & Spain
After a slow start to the year, Portugal’s economic situation began to improve thanks mostly to net exports, resulting in 1.6% GDP growth in the first quarter of the year and a higher GDP forecast for 2023 and 2024. At the same time, the inflation rate has continued to rise and is forecast to average 5.7%. To help cope with continuously rising prices, the government will introduce a 3.57% increase in pensions from July.
According to Minister of Economy António Costa Silva, the blue economy will be one of the focuses for Portugal in the future. It is planned to found an international centre for blue biotechnologies, which is expected to make a major contribution to transforming the model for future economic development.
In Spain, meanwhile, the economy in 2023 has already exceeded expectations, growing 0.5% more than was predicted owing to rising exports and investments. Although domestic consumption levels continue to fall, there is still potential for growth in the economy as the country is gradually reviving following the 2022 energy crisis. The forecast for the second quarter of the year looks positive, thanks mainly to the recovery of the service and manufacturing sectors and to an increase in the number of international tourists. However, the inflation rate climbed to 4.1% in April, in which month alone prices rose 0.6%. Nevertheless, inflation is expected to slow and to average 3.8% in 2023.
Regarding metals, supply and demand in Portugal and Spain are currently low, and so activity is limited. Although prices for secondary aluminium have stabilized, general demand for copper, copper alloys and aluminium is weak in Europe and Asia.