LISBON, Feb. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Portuguese economy grew by 2.1 percent in 2018, down 0.7 percentage points from that of 2017 and slightly below government expectations, local media reported on Friday.
The government had predicted GDP to come in at 2.3 percent, but the National Statistics Institute (INE) flash estimate was 0.2 percentage points lower.
That was, however, the fastest growth rate in 17 years and more than double the 2016 growth rate of 1.2 percent.
Furthermore, 2.1 percent for 2018 tallied with the European Commission's forecast for Portugal. It was also above the European average of 1.8 percent and the eurozone average of 1.9 percent.
Like Portugal, the European economy as a whole cooled in 2018, down from 2.4 percent GDP in 2017.
The Portuguese economy has been growing steadily in recent years after the country exited in May 2014 the 78-billion-euro bailout program with the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank following three years of harsh austerity.