UPDATE 1-Portugal 2011 budget bolsters confidence- Socrates

* 2011 austerity budget aims to cut deficit

* Economists see Portugal as likely bailout candidate
(Updates with Socrates comments, budget details)

By Luis Andres Henao

MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina, Dec 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Portugal’s
approval of its 2011 budget shows commitment and helps bolster
confidence in the country, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose
Socrates said on Saturday.

Portugal approved the austerity budget on Nov. 26, vowing
to spur growth and apply tough spending cuts as it seeks to
avoid an Irish-style bailout. [ID:nLDE6AP0F4]

“Portugal’s main contribution to reinforcing confidence …
was presenting its budget,” Socrates told a news conference
toward the end of Ibero-American summit in the Argentine
coastal city of Mar del Plata.

Economists say debt-laden Portugal likely will be the next
weak euro zone country to need financial help as it struggles
with low competitiveness and a high budget deficit, high
borrowing costs and slow growth.

Socrates has repeatedly denied his country needs a bailout,
vowing it will do everything possible to meet goals to cut the
budget deficit — although many economists fear this will push
Portugal back into recession.

Socrates on Friday reiterated Portugal was committed to
ending 2010 with a budget deficit of no more than 7.3 percent
of gross domestic product.

The Portuguese budget aims to cut the deficit to 4.6
percent of gross domestic product in 2011.

Socrates also said on Friday the determination of European
Union states and institutions to defend the euro had halted
speculation in the debt market.
(Additional reporting by Nicolas Misculin; Writing by Simon
Gardner; Editing by Bill Trott)

UPDATE 1-Portugal 2011 budget bolsters confidence- Socrates