Portugal's prime minister on Thursday gave his clearest indication yetthat the country will follow Ireland's example by exiting its 78-billion-euro ($110billion) international bailout without a credit lifeline."The path Portugal has followed until now will today allow us to go forward on ourown means," Pedro Passos Coelho said during a speech in Lisbon to mark LabourDay.A clean exit for Portugal would mark a remarkable turnaround from a year ago,when the country was gripped by a deep political crisis over its austerity measuresthat dented investor confidence.Lisbon will officially announce its decision this weekend.Portugal will be the second eurozone nation to emerge from European Union-IMFbailouts, which have forced crisis-hit governments to apply deeply unpopular cutsto rein in bulging public deficits.But unlike Ireland, which exited its bailout in December, the country has already
managed to return to debt markets before its aid programme ends on May 17.Lisbon on April 23 took its final step in its return to normal financing ininternational markets with its first regular issue of long-term debt since 2011.
In a sign of improving investor confidence, the yield on Portugal's bonds dropped toits lowest point since 2006 this month at 3.6 percent, down from more than 18percent at the height of the crisis."The stars are aligned very much that Portugal will opt for a Irish-style 'naked exit',"said David Schnautz, an analyst at Commerzbank."Even without explicit support in the form of a precautionary credit line orsomething similar, in case need be, the implicit support can very likely still turnedinto an explicit one."The decision comes after representatives of the so-called troika of internationalcreditors -- the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission, theEuropean Central Bank -- finished their final evaluation of the country's compliancewith the terms of the bailout.Germany, the eurozone's largest economy, has already made it clear it would preferPortugal to make an outright exit without any standby loans -- particularly ahead ofEuropean elections next month."I think that Portugal will opt for an exit without a precautionary line of credit,"said Pedro Lino, an analyst at Dif Broker."If the government announced it will rely on a backup programme, it would giveammunition to the opposition to argue that Portugal's efforts have been in vain.