Portugal to meet budget deficit target, prime minister says

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa says European authorities can breathe a sigh of relief: Portugal's budget deficit this year will be lower than the limit they set.

Without elaborating, Costa said late Wednesday that the 2016 deficit will be "comfortably below" the 2.5 percent ceiling stipulated by Brussels.

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If Portugal complies with that demand from its EU partners, it would be a victory for Costa, a center-left Socialist who argued he could reverse some austerity while cutting debt.

Eurozone rules require countries to keep their budget deficits below 3 percent of their annual GDP. Portugal hasn't achieved that since 2007. Portugal was asked to do more this year following recent slippages.

The deficit was above 11 percent in 2010, the year before Portugal needed a 78-billion euro ($81.6 billion) bailout.