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Portugal Sells Long-Term Debt for First Time Since Its Bailout

Debt-plagued Portugal has reached a milestone in its financial recovery, selling long-term government debt for the first time since its bailout two years ago.

Lisbon sold $3.9 billion worth of bonds on international markets Tuesday that mature in 10 years, with investors trying to buy three times that amount.

Officials said the bond sale showed that the government's austerity measures are working to resolve the country's financial problems, even though Portugal still has a record jobless rate of more than 17 percent and is forecasting a third straight year of recession.

Finance Minister Vitor Gaspar said the sale "has been a great success," and pointed toward the country's eventual exit from the $102 billion bailout it had to secure from international lenders to avoid bankruptcy.

But even with the bond sale, Portugal is imposing new austerity terms, forcing civil servants to work an extra hour a day and increasing the retirement age by a year to 66. That left one pensioner complaining that the government's focus ought to be on creating jobs.

"I think that the political parties, instead of fighting each other and calling for strikes, should work together to create jobs. As we are now, the country will not move forward."

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