Country Forecast Portugal July 2018

Country Forecast Portugal July 2018

  • July 2018 •
  • Report ID: 2556608 •
  • Format: PDF

Policy towards private enterprise and competition


2018-19: The government will remain generally wary of major privatisations and less committed to competition policy than its predecessor. Privatisation of financially sustainable state-owned companies will progress very slowly, if at all.


2020-22: Gradual opening up of closed product markets and professional sectors slowly improves competitiveness.


Policy towards foreign investment


2018-19: Policy stance will remain generally supportive of foreign investment. Improvements in the business environment remain meagre because of the slower pace of labour, justice and tax reforms.


2020-22: Fiscal incentives to boost investment may eventually be reintroduced as fiscal performance improves.


Foreign trade and exchange controls


2018-19: Foreign trade is governed by relatively open EU rules. Trade deal with US unlikely, but EU will continue efforts to sign deals with other countries. Some risk of reduced trade access to UK markets, particularly for services.


2020-22: The Economist Intelligence Unit expects Greece to leave the euro area by the end of the forecast period. Other departures remain a risk, but are not our baseline forecast. These could mean new barriers to trade and foreign exchange.


Taxes


2018-19: The PS government's de facto coalition with parties that prefer higher public spending means that the improvement of the tax environment is likely to be limited. More progressive rates of income tax are possible.


2020-22: Possible improvement in tax environment. If the Socialist Party (PS) remains in government, higher taxes on wealthy individuals.


Financing


2018-19: High burdens of non-performing loans weaken bank balance sheets. Credit remains constrained, given high credit risks and the need for continued deleveraging.


2020-22: Gradual improvement in financing conditions. Robust economic growth helps to improve banks' balance sheets. European Central Bank policy rates remain very low.


The labour market


2018-19: Little inclination to reform the labour market, and possibly some backsliding. However, reforms implemented in recent years reduce firing costs. High, albeit falling, unemployment also holds down labour costs.


2020-22: New labour market reforms are possible, particularly if there is a change in government.


Infrastructure


2018-19: Public works programme continues to be delayed.


2020-22: Air and sea ports capture most of public infrastructure investment to attract international trade and tourism traffic. Improvements in the rail network possible.


Technological readiness


2018-19: The government's efforts to improve digital literacy start to bear fruit. E-government services and e-commerce continue to expand, albeit slowly and from a low base.


2020-22: The low level of R&D continues to hold back the development of digital economy versus many peers. Efforts to develop human capital for the digital economy show positive results, but many highly qualified graduates emigrate.



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