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EU's Moscovici upbeat about Portugal, sees 2017 growth above 2.5 percent

LISBON (Reuters) - European Union Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici lauded Portugal on Tuesday for its economic and fiscal progress and said growth would probably exceed 2.5 percent this year in an acceleration from 1.4 percent in 2016.

"The progress that has been made is very impressive," Moscovici told a news briefing during a visit to Lisbon, adding that he is "optimistic" about the country's economy.

He also said that Portugal's strategy of tackling the financial sector's massive bad loans, which the government said would not involve the use of public funds, was "ambitious and going in the right direction".

The International Monetary Fund last month more than doubled its 2017 growth outlook for Portugal to 2.5 percent.

(Reporting By Sergio Goncalves, writing by Andrei Khalip)