Portugal’s Cavaco Silva Urges ECB to Buy Portuguese Bonds

Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva urged the European Central Bank to help Portugal emerge from recession and an aid program by buying the country’s debt on the secondary market.

The ECB announced in September a bond-buying program for euro-area nations willing to sign up to austerity conditions -- an offer that has soothed debt markets without yet being triggered.

“I believe that Portugal qualifies for secondary-market intervention for public debt, which the European Central Bank at one point said they would be able to carry out,” Cavaco Silva told reporters today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

Portugal is in the third year of a 78 billion-euro ($104 billion) rescue by the euro area and the International Monetary Fund. Last month, the Portuguese government sold 10-year debt for the first time in more than two years as yields on the country’s existing bonds were at the lowest since 2010.

The ECB bond-buying program, known as Outright Monetary Transactions, wouldn’t apply to countries that are under a full adjustment program until “full market access” is obtained, President Mario Draghi said last October.

Cavaco Silva also pressed the Frankfurt-based ECB to help improve the financing conditions and access to credit of small and medium-sized businesses.

“There has been a fragmentation of credit markets,” he said. “This is threatening the integrity of the European currency.”

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