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Bailed-out Portugal returns to debt markets, sees strong demand in bond sale

Portugal is selling its debt on financial markets for the first time since it needed a bailout, holding an auction of five-year bonds.

The government said on its website Wednesday that by midday (1200 GMT) it had received offers for €10 billion ($13 billion) of the bonds. It said the amount to be sold and the interest rate would be announced later.

The sale is a milestone in Portugal's recovery efforts and the latest sign that the euro area is over the worst of the financial crisis.

Portugal required a €78 billion lifeline in May 2011 to avert bankruptcy. The country's fiscal health has improved since it began enacting reforms demanded in return for the bailout. But it is stuck in recession with unemployment at 16.3 percent.