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Portugal has no pressing financing needs: finance minister

Published on 30/01/2013

Portugal has no urgent financing needs and is not planning any additional bond issues for the time being, the country's finance minister Vitor Gaspar said here Wednesday.

“We have no pressing financial needs,” Gaspar told a conference organised by Frankfurt’s Goethe University.

And following Lisbon’s recent 2.5-billion-euro ($3.4-billion) five-year bond issue last week, “we are not in a hurry to make another operation,” he said.

The bond issue was Portugal’s first medium-term operation since it asked for an international bailout in May 2011.

As much as 93 percent of the paper was bought by non-Portuguese investors, which was a good sign, Gaspar noted.

The minister insisted that the funds raised were not primarily aimed at meeting the country’s financing needs.

“It was for treasury management reasons”, he said.

It was also a way for Portugal to test the level of its interest rates on the markets and encourage the country’s banks to venture out into the bond markets and give the real economy a boost, Gaspar continued.

Asked about the delay of the privatisation of public broadcaster RTP, the minister said no new timetable had been decided. But a decision would be reached “in the next few months.”

It would depend on market conditions, he added.

Gaspar insisted that Portugal’s privatisaition programme has so far been successful.

Lisbon had managed to generate the expected level of income from privatisations so the so-called Troika of public creditors — the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — “is absolutely delighted,” Gaspar insisted.