LISBON, July 17 Portugal's financial system has become stronger thanks to higher solvency ratios of banks and problems affecting Banco Espirito Santo are not to be confused with problems in the financial system as a whole, the finance minister said on Thursday.
Maria Luis Albuquerque told a parliament committee, where she was summoned to explain the situation around the country's largest listed bank, that the government had confidence in the "correct way" the central bank was addressing the situation around BES.
"The situation in the financial system has improved significantly with the reinforcement of capital ratios ... Let's not confuse the whole financial system with one bank, it is important not to spread unjustified alarm," she said.
She said the Espirito Santo group of companies owned by the founding family of BES was working to solve its problems, adding that the government "knows from media reports that there should be investors interested in part of the groups' business".
"It's a private group that has problems and they are trying to solve them like private groups should, without government intervention... Speculating about any possibly catastrophic scenarios is not the right thing to do," she said when asked about any potential fallout for the economy. (Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge)