Portuguese external debt represents a big burden for an economy the size and the structure of Portugal's. It is more than twice the size of GDP and almost six fold the value of yearly exports, the shares of central governmemnt and of the private sector being roughly equal at about 39% each. In the recent years the country succeeded in forcing the foreign debt trend downwards, mainly by turning the trade balance around. However, rather than saying that Portugal's external debt position improved, it is more accurate to state that it ceased to deteriorate further, the situation remaining a most vulnerable one.
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