Europe’s southern economies are steadily shaking off their sickly image. Take Portugal, which today reported that its economy is growing at the fastest rate since 2000. Real GDP increased by 2.7% last year, compared with 1.5% in 2016.
Three years after exiting an international bailout program, Portuguese growth is being spurred by domestic demand, as investment increases. It’s also being helped along by a growth spurt across the continent, boosting Portugal’s exports. Elsewhere in the euro zone’s troubled south, Italy reported its strongest year of growth since 2010.
Still, after suffering harsh downturns during the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis, Portugal’s economy lags behind the rest of the region. There’s the lingering problem of debt, too, with a public debt to GDP ratio of 130%, hardly something to celebrate.