Portugal given more time to cut deficit

Protesters hold up a banner in Lisbon during a general strike, 22 March Austerity measures in Portugal have led to strikes by public sector workers

Portugal has been given one more year to reduce its deficit, after the latest quarterly review by international lenders overseeing its 78bn-euro (£65bn) eurozone bailout.

The lenders felt progress had been made in rebalancing the economy, Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said.

But they concluded that the difficult economic backdrop meant Portugal needed more time to meet the bailout targets.

Portugal must get its deficit below the European Union's target of 3% of GDP.

The troika of lenders is made up of the EU, IMF and European Central Bank.

Mr Gaspar said that eurozone governments had already sanctioned the extension.

No extra finance is to be provided beyond the 78bn euros in loan guarantees already agreed for the three-year bailout period.

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