Portugal beating debt targets, says government

Portugal beating debt targets, says government

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
Portuguese Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said on March 19 that the country is cutting its debt levels faster than earlier projected under its bailout plan.

Gaspar said that the details of the country’s third review under the 78 billion euro ($103 billion) EU-International Monetary Fund rescue last year will show improvement in several key metrics, including the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product.

Under the previous review the country’s debt ratio -a measure of whether its debt burden is sustainable- was expected to peak at 188 percent in 2013 and then fall about two percentage points a year through 2016, the end of the bailout program.

But the new forecast “is actually more favorable” than that from December, Gaspar said at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank in Washington.

“Indeed, according to the latest numbers, the debt sustainability analysis for Portugal is more favorable” than December’s figure.

He declined to give any figures; the data is usually released by the IMF, which monitors performance under its loan program.

Gaspar also said rising Portuguese exports, including areas like footwear and paper, were helping the country close its current account deficit more quickly. “The current account was corrected much faster than in the program,” he said.