Portugal records double-dip recession in 2011

A woman passes by a closed store in Fanqueiros street in Lisbon downtown on Jan. 16, 2012. In the past few years there's been a huge decline in the percentage of sales of the small trade shops in Lisbon. Fanqueiros Street was, in other time, the busiest and the most popular street in Lisbon downtown for costumers who wanted to buy tailored men's suits, fabrics, all made by portuguese industry, now the scenerio has changed quite a few shops closed down and the ones that have left their doors open are on the edge to shut down their sales because the are no costumers and their outfitters are bankrupt.

LISBON, Portugal - Portugal's economy contracted by 1.5 percent last year, pitching it into a double-dip recession amid an acute financial crisis, the country's statistics agency reports.

Portugal needed a 78 billion euro ($103 billion) bailout last year to avoid bankruptcy after a decade of feeble growth.

The government has enacted steep pay and welfare cuts and tax hikes in an effort to reduce Portugal's debt burden, but the measures have crunched spending.

The National Statistics Institute said Tuesday that preliminary data indicated the downturn gathered pace in the final quarter.

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The government forecasts a contraction of 3 percent this year as Portugal endures its worst economic period in recent memory.