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Eurozone crisis

Portugal celebrates successful return to bond market

Southern eurozone member Portugal has said its return to capital markets after a three-year pause has been successful. The government's auction of a long-term bond issue was met with strong demand from investors.

Portugal said Wednesday it easily raised 750 million euros ($1.04 billion) in a landmark 10-year bond issue, marking the country's return to capital markets after three years of being totally dependent on funds from an international bailout scheme.

Being one of the euro area's nations hit hardest by the zone's protracted debt crisis, Portugal made a crucial step on its road to emerging from the EU-IMF rescue program on May 17.

In Wednesday's auction, funds were raised at an interest rate of 3.575 percent, the lowest level for bonds of that maturity in about eight years. Investors' appetite for the bills was huge, with the bond being heavily oversubscribed.

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Two weeks ago, eurozone member Greece also marked its capital markets comeback with a successful medium-term bond auction and a helping hand from a banking consortium.

With the Portuguese auction having gone according to plan, the country may well choose to leave the international bailout scheme without an option of a standby loan.

The government in Lisbon told international inspectors it would define by May 5 whether it would aim to make such a clean exit. As of mid-May, Portugal will no longer receive any tranches from its 78 billion euro bailout program agreed with the European Commission, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund back in 2011.

hg/dr (AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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