AP News

Portugal pays lower interest rates in debt auction

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal has collected 1.75 billion euros ($2.3 billion) in a debt auction, with a sharp drop in interest rates providing further evidence that market confidence in the bailed-out country is returning.

Investors stopped buying Portugal's debt in 2011 amid a broader crisis in the 17-nation eurozone. That forced the country to seek a 78 billion euro international rescue package. It has since then pursued an austerity program to shed its heavy debt burden.

The Portuguese debt agency said it paid an interest rate of 1.23 percent on 12-month Treasury bills Wednesday, down from 1.39 percent last month, raising 1.25 billion euros. Demand was more than double the amount on offer.

It raised 500 million euros in 6-month bills, paying a rate of 0.81 percent compared with 2.169 percent last November.

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