This figure compares well in annualised terms, with the first quarter of 2015 seeing the government spend €2.34 billion more than it took in and equivalent to a 5.5% GDP deficit.

Furthermore, the figure is better than that forecast by the parliamentary UTAO budget support unit that had foreseen a 3.3% overspend when presenting its figures in early June.

However, 3.2% falls well short of the government’s annual target of 2.2% and more in keeping with the Brussels forecast in its spring outlook putting the annualised Portuguese GDP deficit at 2.7%.

The INE report identified a rise in total government revenue of 2.3% against a sharper fall in expenditure, 2.7%, with both figures year-on-year comparisons.

The report detailed that there was an increase in revenues sourced from taxes on production and imports, up 9.3%, which together accounted for 14.6% of GDP, alongside a 26.1% fall in capital expenditure, both due to cuts in investment and lower levels of expenditure on interest, down 11.1% year-on-year.

The state also closed the first quarter with a 0.6% fall in its financing needs due both to a 0.5% rise in revenues and a 0.6% cut in expenditure.

A note from the Ministry of Finance sent to Lusa has already declared the 3.2% figure to be the best first quarter deficit figure clocked up by the state since 2008.