Portugal’s consumer confidence improved for the third straight month in March to reach its highest level in almost 13 years, led by the positive contributions from all components, mainly the unemployment perspectives, figures from Statistics Portugal showed Monday.

The consumer confidence index rose to -19.2 in March from -21.2 in the previous month. It was the highest score since April 2002 and extended the pronounced upward trend observed since the beginning of 2013, the agency said.

The overall economic sentiment indicator improved to 0.6 in March from 0.3 in February, the same reading as in January.

In a separate report, the statistical office revealed that unemployment rate increased for the third straight month in February.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 14.1 percent in February from 13.8 percent in the prior month. A year earlier, the unemployment rate was 14.9 percent.

The number of unemployed people increased to 719,600 in February from 707,900 at the start of the year. A year ago, the jobless figure totaled 767,300.

At the same time, the youth unemployment rate, which applied to the 15 to 24 age group, came in at 35.0 percent in February, up from 34.5 percent in the preceding month.

In an another report, the statistical office released the retail sales figures for the month of February.

Retail sales climbed 2.2 percent annually in February, slightly slower than January’s 2.3 percent increase. It was the third month of rise in a row.

Month-on-month, retail sales fell 1.2 percent in February, in contrast to a 6.4 percent sharp climb in January.

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