Jam tomorrow for the Portuguese, facing another year of austerity under the country’s 2014 budget, but at least corporation tax is being cut, if only by two percent, to 23 percent. It’s billed as a step on the way towards a target rate of 19 percent by 2018; but the situation is worse than that for bigger companies, which pay up to five percent more in surtax, plus a local supplement of up to 1.5 percent, making a total of 29.5 percent, which suddenly doesn’t sound so attractive. The Spanish headline rate is stuck at 30 percent, so maybe there’s an element of local competition in Portuguese thinking. Portugal is still under an EU bailout program worth EUR68bn, but does seem to be struggling free of the worst of its crisis, with a return to growth in the second half of this year and a small fall in unemployment. It reckons to return to the bond markets on its own account early in 2014, if not before the end of this year. Portugal may therefore be the second country after Ireland to return to stability, but it doesn’t have Ireland’s advantages: in 2012 Ireland pulled in USD29bn in FDI, whereas Portugal managed only USD9bn despite having more than double the population, meaning that Ireland’s FDI per head was more than six times greater than Portugal’s. It’s no coincidence of course that Ireland’s corporation tax rate is a minimal 12.5 percent.