Portugal delays debt payment, expectations exceeded

Portugal delays debt payment, expectations exceeded
# 04 December 2013 01:25 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Portugal on Tuesday won a three-month delay in a debt payment which the bailed-out country was meant to amortize in 2014 and 2015, APA reports quoting XInhua.

The bond swap was intended to test investors' sentiment, and exceeded expectations after Portugal swapped 6.6 billion euros in bonds expiring next year and in 2015 for longer maturities.

There had been widespread skepticism that Portugal will manage to exit the bailout program without a second aid program, but latest results may confirm the ruling center-right coalition's optimism that the country financing itself is a realistic prospect.

Filipe Silva, director of Banco Carregosa, told national broadcaster Antena 1 that the results of Tuesday's bond swap were "positive" and proved that investors were asking for lower return for long term debt.

"If we were to look at this (bond) swap as a test in the market, I would say Portugal passed that test,"he said.

Portugal was supposed to be paying 13.59 billion euros in 2014 and 13.41 billion euros in 2015. Five-year Portuguese yields fell 22 points to 4.89 percent and 10-year Portuguese yields fell 11 points to 5.89 percent.

Tuesday's positive news for the markets echoed the country's bond swap in October 2012, when investors were persuaded to hand over more than 3.5 billion euros of one-year debt in exchange for three-year bonds.

Portugal asked the troika comprising the European Union, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank for a bailout worth of 78 billion euros in May 2011 when it found itself mired in its worst recession since the 1970s.

To sign the deal, the debt-heavy country had to agree to harsh austerity measures to increase tax revenue and reduce spending, which has led protests to escalate.