LISBON, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Portugal's quarterly economic growth picked up pace in the third quarter to 0.4 percent from the preceding three-month period's 0.3 percent, official data showed on Friday. The National Statistics Institute (INE) said in its flash estimate the economy expanded 1.5 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier, the same rate as in the previous quarter. Portugal's government projects growth of 1.3 percent this year after a contraction last year and part of its strategy to slash the budget deficit and sooth investor fears about its finances hinges on growth. (Reporting by Axel Bugge and Andrei Khalip) Keywords: PORTUGAL/GDP (Axel.Bugge@Reuters.Com, +351-213-509-201, Reuters Messaging: email@example.com) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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