LISBON, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said on Wednesday that the government has lowered its 2013 economic forecast to a 2-percent contraction, down from previously estimated 1-percent shrink.
"My temporary judgment points to a downwards revision of the growth forecasts during the seventh regular assessment, which will begin next Monday," Gaspar told the Parliamentary Committee of the Budget and Finances.
The troika - the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund - will arrive here on Monday for the seventh quarterly assessment of Portugal's 78-billion-euro (104-billion-U.S. dollar) bailout program.
Gaspar said that he hopes the troika will agree to the extension of one more year for the Portuguese government to reach its deficit reduction goal of 3 percent by the end of 2015, considering the results of the upcoming troika assessment and the real economic situation in his country.
Portugal's gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 3.2 percent in 2012, more than expected, according to latest figure released by the country's National Statistic Institute (INE).
To meet the requirements of the troika, the Portuguese government is implementing harsh austerity measures for the bailout program which is blamed for the continuous economic recession in the country.