Portugal eyes easier terms for bailout agreement
Portugal's finance minister says the country's bailout lenders are ready to consider ways of easing efforts to restore fiscal health amid a steep economic downturn.
Foreign lenders put up €78 billion ($96 billion) last year to spare Portugal from bankruptcy when its borrowing costs became unaffordable.
The government forecasts an economic contraction of 3 percent in 2012, bringing a third recession in four years. Unemployment has risen to a record 15.2 percent.
Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said late Monday that meeting the budget deficit target of 4.5 percent this year is "very difficult."
He said a scheduled review next month of Portugal's progress in implementing the bailout agreement will "look at ... ways of favoring the success of the adjustment process in Portugal." He did not elaborate.
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