LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal's business confidence improved for the eighth month in a row in August, official data showed on Thursday, after the bailed out economy showed first signs of life, interrupting a long period of recession.
The economic climate indicator, which measures business confidence, stood at minus 2.1 this month, up from minus 2.6 in July, and also better than minus 3.5 a year earlier, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said.
INE said its consumer confidence indicator also rose to a negative reading of 49.0 this month from minus 52.7 in July.
The indices started to rebound from record lows in January, when Lisbon returned to the bond market for the first time since its 2011 bailout, and were further helped by the first benchmark 10-year bond issue in May.
INE data earlier this month showed the economy grew a sharper-than-expected 1.1 percent in the second quarter from the preceding three-month period after 10 consecutive quarters of declines.
Still, gross domestic product is expected to drop about 2 percent for all of this year, before returning to slight growth in 2014, as the economy remains under stress from austerity measures applied under the terms of the EU/IMF bailout.
Reporting by Andrei Khalip