Northern Region
12 October 2020
Exports soar 95% in the Northern Region and above the national average
These are impressive numbers, revealing the unbreakable strength of the industry in the Northern Region. Between April and July, exports soared by 95%, reaching 2,040 million euros and exceeding the national average growth by around 71%. These are the main conclusions of the last quarterly report of the Commission for Coordination and Development of the Northern Region (CCDR-N) for the second quarter of 2020.

"After a significant downturn in the regional economy during the lockdown period, the first signs of recovery are visible," the entity points out, which presents the most recent export data of the region from the NORTE CONJUNTURA report.

Compared to the country, the performance was better. "In Portugal, the value of exports in July was still lower than in January," as stated in the newsletter pf CCDR-N, chaired by Fernando Freire de Sousa, noting that this is a proof of the "resilience of the export sector in the Northern Region", which in the context of crisis was higher than the national value.

The NORTE CONJUNTURA indicators "also highlight the increase in the region's net average wage and its tendency to converge towards the national average wage", having a real growth of 5.1% compared to the same period in 2019, according to the publication. Although the Northern Region is the country's largest exporter, per capita GDP is still below the values presented by the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, a fact that Rui Moreira recalled at a conference a few days ago.

The path to convergence may, however, be in preparation as "the difference between the national salary and that of the region was 43 euros, the smallest difference since there are records on salaries by NUTS II", the quarterly report states.

Tourism in the Northern Region also on the rise

Tourism indicators also reflect a favourable development, without ignoring that the pandemic compromised the excellent results achieved in the first two months of 2020, which would certainly provide the impetus for an extraordinary year at this level. With a global crisis in the middle, "the number of guests in the Northern Region increased exponentially between April and July 2020," but at less than 50% of the figures for the same period last year, the report indicates.

In this adverse context, tourism in the Northern Region is recovering even at a faster rate than in the country as a whole. And although the period under review ends in July, the next assessment may be even more positive, reflecting the first approaches to bring together the Porto Tourism Association (ATP) and the regional entity Tourism of Porto and North of Portugal (TPNP), which was reflected in the first joint campaign "O Norte Lá em Cima!" and in the election of the president of TPNP, Luís Pedro Martins, to join the new social bodies of the ATP.

The CCDR-N report mentions a less positive aspect, which is the 20% increase in the number of unemployed registered in the Employment Centres of the North Region, compared to the same period in 2019. This variation was, nevertheless, lower than the one observed on a national scale (30.6%).

It should be recalled that the previous NORTE ESTRUTURA report stated that the North was the region that contributed the most to the increase in labour productivity between 2000 and 2017, growing 20% compared to the Lisbon Metropolitan Area, which rose 3.3% in the same period.

The GDP of Porto and the Northern Region also grew at an average annual rate of more than 4% between 2014 and 2017. The conclusions are drawn by an EY study commissioned by the Municipality of Porto on the attractiveness of Porto and the Northern Region, which also shows that in this region of the country foreign direct investment (FDI) grew by 11.4% per year from 2013 to 2018.

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