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May 7 (Bloomberg) -- The European Central Bank’s financing to Portuguese lenders fell in April from the previous month, the Bank of Portugal said.

ECB financing decreased to 55.4 billion euros ($72.2 billion) from a record 56.3 billion euros in March, the Lisbon-based Bank of Portugal said today on the BPStat portion of its website.

Financing reached a record in March after the Frankfurt-based ECB awarded 529.5 billion euros to 800 financial institutions at the end of February. The central bank’s second round of three-year loans was designed to avert credit paralysis and ease concern that Europe’s banks would run out of cash or curb lending as the debt crisis drove up borrowing costs.

In April last year, Portugal became the third euro-area country after Greece and Ireland to require aid and will receive 78 billion euros under its agreement with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. The aid plan earmarks 12 billion euros for Portugal’s lenders, if needed.

As part of the plan, those lenders were required to raise core Tier 1 capital ratios to 9 percent by the end of 2011 and 10 percent by the end of 2012. In addition, the EU banking regulator ordered the region’s banks to have a 9 percent capital ratio by the end of June after marking down their holdings of sovereign debt to market prices.

To contact the reporters on this story: Anabela Reis in Lisbon at Joao Lima in Lisbon at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jerrold Colten at

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