SYDNEY, March 28 Moody's Investors Service on
Thursday affirmed Portugal's Ba3 rating but kept it on negative
outlook, citing high government debt and the country's
vulnerability to regional shocks such as the Cyprus crisis.
The agency also noted the country's weak economy, which was
at risk of contracting by even more than first feared this year.
Still, Moody's said Portuguese policymakers had made
significant progress toward fiscal consolidation and structural
reforms, and were nearer to regaining market access.
The agency said it might downgrade Portugal's sovereign
ratings in the event of a further significant rise in the
government's debt ratio or an increase in borrowing costs.
Conversely, Moody's would consider raising the rating if the
government managed to stabilise its debt-to-GDP ratio.