The cabinet decision was announced by Prime Minister Pedro Passos
Coelho in a televised address to the nation and means the country
will no longer have to answer to foreign creditors after the bailout
ends on May 17.
"The government has decided to exit the assistance program without
turning to any kind of precautionary program," Prime Minister Pedro
Passos Coelho said, flanked by his entire government which met
Sunday to make the decision.
"This is the right decision," he said, adding that Portugal's
European partners would back whatever decision the government took.
Portugal is the second euro zone country after Ireland to exit an
"The European Commission takes note of this decision and, as
previously stated, will support the Portuguese authorities and
people in this sovereign choice," said Siim Kallas, vice-president
of the European Commission, in a statement.
Lisbon is set to formally communicate the decision to the Eurogroup
of finance ministers at a meeting on Monday.
The decision to exit the bailout without a security net is a major
success for the government, which has won over investor confidence
by sticking to the harsh austerity and reforms required by the
bailout. Lisbon was forced to seek the bailout from the European
Union and IMF in 2011.
"By agreeing to adopt what was imposed by the international
creditors, Portugal won the ticket to get a free ride from the
strong international recovery," said Filpe Garcia, head of the
Informacao de Mercados Financeiro consultancy.
The center-right government has stuck to the bailout plan and met
targets to cut the country's budget deficit. That cost it some
support but the government's popularity has stabilized since the
economy started to recover in the middle of last year.
The government's biggest challenge has come from the country's
supreme court, which has shot down a number of austerity measures
demanded by the bailout.
"The Portuguese authorities have established a strong track record
of policy implementation to address the country's long-standing
structural problems," IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said
in a statement. "This bodes well as Portugal exits its
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BOND YIELDS DOWN
Portugal's economy suffered its worst downturn since the 1970s under
its bailout. But economic activity turned positive again last year
and bond yields have fallen sharply this year, boosting optimism
that Portugal would be able to exit the bailout and return to
financing itself in bond markets.
The country passed the last review by creditors of its economy under
the bailout last week, putting it on track to exit the plan without
needing further help.
"The fact that Portugal doesn't need a precautionary program is
another vote of confidence by European partners," said Felipe Silva,
head of debt at Banco Carregosa. "Investors accept Portugal's risk
and that is very positive."
Portugal's 10-year bond yields currently trade around 3.65 percent -
close to the lowest levels in eight years - after peaking near 17
percent at the height of the debt crisis in 2012. Portugal's 10-year
yield trades around 220 basis points over equivalent German bonds.
At one point at the height of its debt crisis, many economists
thought the country would be forced to default on its debts like
Instead, by making a clean exit from the bailout without needing a
financial backstop, Portugal is following in the footsteps of
Ireland, which became the first euro zone country to successfully
exit a bailout in December.
(Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Axel Bugge; Editing by
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