Reports: Portugal Asks Eurozone to Extend Rescue Loan Dates


Portugal has asked eurozone finance ministers to extend the life of bailout loans to help it to borrow normally, Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar was reported as saying by media in Lisbon.

Gaspar said after a meeting of the Eurogroup of finance ministers in Brussels on Monday that Portugal had shown it was carrying out bailout conditions and that it was "ready to launch issues on the primary bond market," the reports said.

But the return to the sovereign debt market "is more difficult to the extent that the country faces a concentration of very big (repayment) maturities in 2014, 2015 and 2016," he was reported as saying.

Therefore it was important for Portugal "to be able to count on the support of our European partners so as to dilute and defer these dates over time."

In May 2011, Portugal obtained bailout loans of 78 million euros ($104 million) from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund on condition that it apply a program of radical reforms and budget rigour to correct public deficits and debt and to raise the performance of the economy.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said on Friday that Portugal was at the point of overcoming its financial crisis.

His remarks followed success by Portugal on Wednesday with an issue of short-term debt bonds and after the debt management agency had said that if market conditions permitted, this year it would make its first issue of medium-term or long-term debt since the country was rescued.

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