Portugal: too soon to decide on early IMF pay back

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Portugal's prime minister says he supports Ireland's bid for an early pay back of bailout loans to the International Monetary Fund, but added his country could only take a similar initiative if market conditions further improved.

Pedro Passos Coelho, visiting Greece Tuesday, said it was "rational" for Ireland to seek early repayment of its IMF loans as it could now borrow money at better rates on the bond markets.

Portugal earlier this year became the second eurozone member to complete its international bailout program after Ireland — leaving Greece and Cyprus.

Coelho held talks in Athens with conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and expressed support for Greece's cost-cutting reforms taken during a six-year recession.