Portugal Industries and Foreign Trade
Mineral Resources. – Fuels are very scarce; in the average of the years 1928-32 the production of anthracite, which is the most abundant, amounted to 188 thousand tons, that of fossil coal to 28,000 tons. and that of lignite at 26,000 tons. The main anthracite deposits are in S. Pedro da Cova and Pejão (near Oporto), where an English company has taken over its exploitation; coal is extracted mainly in Moinho da Ordem (near Setúbal), lignite at Cape Mondego and on the Rio Lena. The copper deposits of Spanish Huelva (Rio Chanca) continue in Portuguese territory for a stretch of 132 km. long and 20 km. wide, and their exploitation constitutes the main branch of the Portuguese mining industry. The main copper production districts are in S. Domingos, Aljustrel, on the left bank of the Guadiana, in Louzal, Tinoca (Arronches), Talhadas (Vouga). In the years 1928-32 the production of copper ore amounted to 310,000 tons. and employed about 3,500 workers. The iron, whose production in the years 1926-30 amounted to 7.8 thousand tonnes, is extracted from Nogueirinha (Évora) and from Moncorvo (Bragança). Tin has been mined for some time in the Traz os Montes region and in Beira (average 1928-32, 2.7 thousand tonnes), while lead is mined around Oporto and Aveiro, but with little result. given the difficulty in extracting the mineral. Portugal also has nickel, cobalt, arsenic and above all wolfram and uranium; the latter two are of recent exploitation (1910), but their production is currently very intense, as they are highly sought after for the metallurgical and chemical industries. Construction materials (marble, slate, asphalt, etc.) are very abundant; the white and colored marbles of Barba and Estremoz in the Alemtejo are especially renowned, and those of Vimioso in the Traz os Montes, to which alabaster is also associated. The salt, which is obtained from the Aveiro lagoon, near the mouth of the Mondego and Setúbal, gave an average production of 27,000 tons in the years 1927-31.
Industries. – Given the poverty of mineral resources, the industry in Portugal is underdeveloped, although it has increased significantly over the last thirty years; to this country, almost devoid of fuel, hydroelectric power would be a valuable aid for the rapid development of large industry. Portugal’s hydroelectric resources estimated at around two million HP would be enough for the country’s consumption.
Currently the installations that give the best performance are those of Lindoso, on the Rio Lima, near the border with Spain; these supply a power of 28,000 kW and distribute their current on a 86 km line, which supplies the districts of Braga and Oporto.
According to ebizdir, the main Portuguese industrial centers are concentrated in the ports of Lisbon and Oporto; all the industries that need imported raw materials are crammed into these two cities; here there are numerous foundries, cotton and silk spinning and weaving industries, printing factories, shoe, furniture and chemical products factories. Porto, which is the main center of the cotton industry, has a hundred factories (in 1932, 450,000 spindles) and just under 30,000 workers; the silk industry, which is less important, is instead concentrated in Lisbon, Braga and Oporto. The wool industry is located in the mountainous regions of the Serra da Estrella: Covilhã is the main center; other factories are in Gouveia, Portalegre, Alemquer, Castanheira de Pera. A very characteristic industry is that of majolica (azulejos, tiles for the decoration of the houses) inherited from the Arabs, flourishing in the surroundings of Lisbon (Sacavêm), in Caldas da Rainha and Vista Alegre (Aveiro) and that of the hats located in Braga. Recent industries include candied fruit and preserved fish (Algarve), the cork, marble, slate, paper and glass industries (Marinha Grande near Leiria).
Foreign trade. – On the average of the years 1928-32 the general commercial movement of Portugal, including import and export, amounted to 3.765.472.000 escudos, of which 2.538.752.000 for import and 1.226.720.000 for national export; therefore a deficit for the trade balance of 1,312,032,000 escudos was found. The trade balance has accused since the pre-war years a considerable imbalance between the values of imports and those of exports, an imbalance that the difficult conditions created by the world crisis and by the various crises concerning agricultural production in particular have been gradually accentuating.. In the movement of imports cereals predominate, especially wheat, sugar, metal objects and raw metals, cotton, fuels,
Among exports, wine alone absorbs more than a quarter of the total value, about a fifth goes to the preserved fish, especially sardines, a little less than a seventh to cork; the rest is represented almost entirely by foodstuffs. Among the countries that have commercial relations with Portugal, Great Britain occupies the first place: in fact it is the main supplier and at the same time the main customer of Portugal; its commercial relations with the Portuguese Republic are between 20-25% of the total figure (1932, 24.09%). Portugal therefore from an economic point of view can be considered a dependence of England. They also have commercial relations with Portugal, Germany (1930, 14.68%), the United States (14.48%), France (9.10%), Belgium (7.36%), Spain (4, 73%), Holland (3.30%),
Portugal’s main customers for wines are Great Britain, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Brazil; for cork the United States of America, England and Holland, for preserved fish France, Germany, Great Britain, the United States of America and Italy.