Portugal has held its first auction of government bonds in three years, and easily sold 750 million euros worth.
The bonds, which are due to mature in 10 years time, were offered at the lowest rate of interest since before the economic crisis which brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.
The fact that investors were prepared to directly lend Lisbon money is a major confidence indicator as Portugal prepares to exit its European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout next month.
Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho said the auction gave the country “strong confidence about the future”.
The yield – or interest to be paid – was 3.5752 percent; at the height of the debt crisis in early 2012, it was 18.29 percent.
Demand for the bonds outstripped the amount on offer by 3.5 times.
“It’s now proven that Portugal can finance itself in the tough and rough normal market without support from banks,” said Filipe Silva, head of debt at Banco Carregosa in Porto
The debt sale, intended to help pre-fund Portugal’s spending needsin 2015, took place one day after its international lenders started their final evaluation of its performance under the 78 billion euro bailout it needed in 2011.