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Portugal ‘fully back in the market’

Portugal's economy may not be out of the woods yet, but the country's finance minister has told CNBC it is "fully back in the market."

Maria Luis Albuquerque, Portugal's minister of state and finance, said that prospects for the country were much better than they were a year ago and that finances were a far cry from their lows in 2011 when Portugal entered a 78 billion euro ($83 billion) bailout program.

"When we look at the core of the program and the objectives that the program had, we can say it has been successful," Albuquerque told CNBC during an interview at the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s Spring Meeting in Washington D.C. this weekend.

Krisztian Bocsi | Bloomberg | Getty Images

"We have a significant cash buffer. We have just reimbursed part of the IMF loan with a very significant interest costs savings, which is very important for the budget, and also to demonstrate that we are fully back in the market (Tweet This) and able to tap it at longer maturities."

"The impact on both the sustainability of the debt, the redemption profile and the interest costs, has been very, very positive."

Albuquerque said Portugal was expected to be a major beneficiary of the European Central Bank's (ECB) quantitative easing program, with the central bank set to buy nearly one-quarter of the country's sovereign bonds.

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She added that companies were already feeling a positive impact from the program thanks to falling interest rates, though sizeable credit flows were still lagging. Plus, the bond-buying program, along with a weakening euro and falling oil prices, was helping to attract investors to the region.

"The main issue is about confidence, because for investment you need confidence that things will improve. And when we see the ECB putting in place these kind of policies that did indeed boost confidence in the euro area prospect... that has been helping," Albuquerque told CNBC.

"Fortunately things seem to be improving. So, it still challenging but it looks like the worst is behind us."