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Portugal returns to bond sales with strong demand

LISBON, Portugal 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 it had received offers for $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 $104 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.