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LISBON, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Portuguese banks' cumulative borrowing from the European Central Bank rose 2.8 percent in August to 51.57 billion euros, well below the 60.5 billion euro peak hit a year ago at the height of the debt crisis, data showed on Tuesday.
Borrowing has now risen for three months in a row, however, after a political crisis that led to a government reshuffle.
The situation has improved since June 2012, when Portuguese banks' reliance on the ECB was at its greatest as worries about the bailed-out country left them unable to borrow commercially.
Borrowing from the euro zone's central bank fell to a 2013 low of 47.8 billion euros in March.
Portugal is navigating its third year of recession and expects to return to growth in 2014, when it is also scheduled to exit its EU/IMF bailout. The economy expanded in the second quarter for the first time in 10 quarters.
Reporting by Axel Bugge; Editing by Catherine Evans