Portugal Market Return Requires Progress, Constancio Says

Portugal’s return to bond markets depends on the country’s ability to meet targets as part of its external aid program and market perception, said European Central Bank’s Vice President Vitor Constancio.

The question of whether Portugal can sell debt or needs additional aid from international creditors “only poses itself in September next year,” Constancio, who is Portuguese, told reporters in Copenhagen today after a meeting of European finance ministers. “Until then, we have to see if this progress consolidates, allowing the return to the markets without a new program.” Meanwhile, “fortunately” market conditions have improved for the country, he said.

Portugal’s aid plan assumes the country will regain access to medium and long-term sovereign debt markets in 2013, with the program’s last disbursement to be made in June 2014, the International Monetary Fund said in December. European leaders declared then that Greece’s situation is “exceptional and unique” and said they don’t foresee bondholder losses in other nations that seek assistance.

Portugal’s Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has said the country will not ask for more money or more time to fulfill the program, but that if his country is unable to return to markets as planned due to “external reasons,” it would be able to count on continued support from the IMF, the European Commission and the ECB.

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