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Portugal trade gap shrinks by 37 pct in June-August

LISBON, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Portugal's global trade deficit shrunk by 37 percent in the three months between June and August compared to the same period last year as exports rose 10 percent and imports by the bailed-out nation fell 1.5 percent, the National Statistics Institute said on Wednesday.

Exports outside of Portugal's main market - the European Union - soared by more than 25 percent to over 3.4 billion euros, the institute said.

The debt-laden country's exports sector has been doing relatively well even as the government imposed tough austerity under a 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout.

Exports growth has helped alleviate some of the pressure on the economy, which is still expected to contract 3 percent this year as the country struggles through its worst recession since the 1970s.

Trade data (in billions of euros):

June-Aug June-Aug Pct 2012 2011 change Imports 13.542 13.748 -1.5 Exports 11.359 10.290 10.4 Deficit 2.183 3.458 -37

(Reporting by Daniel Alvarenga)

((daniel.alvarenga@thomsonreuters.com)(+351213509203)(Reuters Messaging: daniel.alvarenga.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: PORTUGAL TRADE/