$2.8 billion bank rescue hurts Portuguese budget deficit
LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Rescuing a bank has proved costly for Portugal's efforts to balance its books, with the National Statistics Institute estimating the country's 2015 budget deficit at 4.4 percent — way above the 2.7 percent target.
The statistics agency says that without the government's 2.5 billion euros ($2.8 billion) cash injection into Banco Internacional do Funchal SA, the deficit would have been 3 percent.
Portuguese authorities have been striving to reduce the deficit, which exceeded 10 percent in 2010 — the year before the debt-heavy country needed a 78 billion-euro bailout.
The current government is aiming for a deficit of 2.2 percent this year, though at the same time it has vowed to ease up on austerity measures.
The statistics agency said Thursday spending fell and revenue rose between 2014 and 2015.