António Horta Osório, a banker at Crédit Suisse, considers that the Portuguese must be financially prepared so as not to have a “surprise shock” next year, warning that if there is economic growth in 2023, this will be lower than in recent years.
In an interview with CNN Portugal, the manager revealed that
"growth [in 2023], if any, [will be] much lower than the previous
ones" and, therefore, "the more the Portuguese are prepared, the more
they will be able to defend themselves, so as not to have a shock surprise".
In Horta Osório's opinion, next year will be "very
difficult" for Portugal, which is a "small open economy", but
has "some latitude to adjust to international impacts".
However, "that latitude is limited and there is no
doubt that unfortunately the worsening of food prices, the energy crisis,
greatly exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, have led to inflation that is
becoming generalised and should not be generalised - it is a hidden and unfair
tax on the society".
The manager believes that the idea that "banks have a
lot of money" has been nurtured, with which he does not agree: "It is
enough to see that listed banks in Portugal and in Spain and France are priced
below their book value, which has mainly to do with the fact that the return
that banks are having on capital - which is very high - is lower than the cost
He explains, however, that banks have a lot of liquidity,
considering that this is important in terms of security. "It does not seem
to me that it is true that banks are making big gains because if you look at
the return on equity it is well below 10%", and the minimum return
required for a bank's equity is around 10% to 12%.