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Portugal: Bound for euroland


Wisconsin on the Tagus

At the beginning of next year Portugal will disappear. This country of 10 million increasingly prosperous souls will suddenly become a small corner of the euro currency area. Far from mourning the passing of the domestic capital market, the country is cheering the birth of the euro. But Margaret Popper finds that banks and borrowers are less prepared for 1999 than they like to think they are

On every lamp post on every street in Lisbon waves a cheerful blue and red banner with a splash of yellow. It announces Expo '98, the last World's Fair of the millennium. On May 21, the afternoon before the official opening to the public, the streets are crammed with the limousines of heads of state from around the globe. With 150 countries represented in the exhibits, the Expo is more than just a chance for this nation of navigators to display the latest advances in nautical technology. The infrastructural overhaul that went into its completion and the tourism it will bring in should help to push Portugal's growth rate above 4% this year. Portuguese view the Expo as an overdue international recognition of the country's economic success.

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