Portugal gives cool reaction to IMF's economic critique

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Portugal's new Socialist government has given a frosty response to an International Monetary Fund report that points out weaknesses and risks in the debt-heavy country's economic recovery plans.

The IMF says growth remains "modest" despite favorable conditions, notes that the budget deficit last year was way off target, and recommends further cutbacks.

The center-left Socialist Party that came to power last November was fiercely critical of the IMF's focus on austerity during a three-year program that followed Portugal's 78 billion-euro ($88.5 billion) bailout in 2011. It accused the IMF of neglecting needy Portuguese.

The Finance Ministry's somewhat tetchy reply Friday said it is committed to economic reform, as well as helping the poor. It also casts doubt on the reliability of the IMF's forecasts.