Num novo relátorio de avaliação e recomendação do FMI relativo a Portugal (ler aqui “PORTUGAL – EIGHTH AND NINTH REVIEWS UNDER THE EXTENDED ARRANGEMENT AND REQUEST FOR WAIVERS OF APPLICABILITY OF END-SEPTEMBER PERFORMANCE CRITERIA“) o FMI, entre várias considerações e análises sublinha de forma repetida que agora é o tempo de reduzir significativamente os salários no sector privado. Eis algumas citações do relatório que destacamos:
(…) Indeed, the level and duration of unemployment in Portugal remains one of the highest in the euro area despite a significant pick-up in outward migration. Labor market adjustment has to a large extent taken place through labor shedding, with employment 13 percent below its 2008 peak. The job retrenchment has been particularly concentrated in the lower-skilled segment of the labor market (see chart). The overall nominal wage reduction achieved so far has been mainly driven by developments in the public sector, most of which is being reversed this year due to the constitutional rulings, while overall wage flexibility in the private sector remains limited.
(…) The improvement in cost-competitiveness indicators has lagged the current account adjustment.
Economy-wide unit labor cost (ULCs) have decreased by about 4¼ percent since the peak in Q1 2009. However, this reflects mainly developments in the public sector, particularly the cuts in the 13th and 14th month salaries, which are now being reversed. Staff estimates that ULC adjustment in the private sector has been limited—although less so in the tradable sector, reflecting mainly labor shedding (see Box 1). Tradable sector profitability still needs to recover from relatively low levels (see chart), which in part reflect higher cost of capital and sticky network and other domestic input prices.
Further significant structural adjustment will be needed in 2015 and beyond. The 4-percent of GDP deficit target entails structural primary adjustment of about 1 percent of GDP in 2014. Additional structural primary adjustment of roughly 1 percent to GDP will be needed to reach the 2015 overall deficit objective of 2½ percent of GDP. Further structural primary adjustment of about 1 percent of GDP will be needed after 2015 to reach the fiscal compact objective (an assumption not built into the staff’s baseline scenario). Staff’s baseline assumes no reversal of permanent measures, and the gross measures needed are projected to be broadly in line with the required structural primary adjustment.
Although a critical mass of reforms is now in place, staff expressed concerns that the reform agenda may not be sufficiently ambitious. Within the constraints of the monetary union, implementing structural reforms is the preferred way to foster a more competitive economy and underpin sustainable external adjustment and strong growth, while avoiding a socially difficult internal devaluation. At the same time, because raising productivity takes time, improving external competitiveness also requires reducing production costs, including wages. Yet, despite the important reforms enacted under the program, there remain persistent nominal rigidities. With only modest improvement in cost-competitiveness indicators to date, there remains a risk that the turnaround in the external current account may not be sustainable and that ongoing reforms will not be sufficient to boost supply conditions to generate a rapid turnaround in the economy. In addition, although the sharp rise in unemployment partly reflects structural factors—such as adjustment of highly-leveraged corporate to tighter financing conditions and skills mismatch in view of the rebalancing of the economy—more wage flexibility would also help boost employment, particularly at the low end of the skill distribution.