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Spain beats 2010 public deficit target

Source: AFP - Tue 1st Mar 2011

Earlier Spain's Minstry of Economics advised a 2010 public deficit of 9.24% of gross domestic product, coming in just under its target of 9.3%.

The government has persevered with a number of harsh and unpopular austerity measures, including a hike in IVA and a cut to public workers' wages, after Spain's public deficit hit 11.2% of output in 2009, the third-highest in the eurozone behind Greece and Ireland. The figure was later revised down to 11.1 percent.

The Government also recently announced plans to sell off shares in the national lottery and the country's main airport operator in an attempt to bring the public deficit under the 3.0% European Union limit by 2013.

Greece and Ireland have both received bailouts from the EU and the IMF and markets have been deeply concerned by the prospect that Spain may do likewise if it did not make significant steps to change things.

Spain's budget deficit, which only covers central government expenditures, fell 40.2% in 2010 to 50.69 billion euros or 4.97% of GDP, versus a planned 5.9%, and 9.4% in 2009, the economy ministry reported.

By contrast, the deficit of Spain's powerful 17 regional governments rose to 2.83% of GDP in 2010 from 1.92% a year earlier. The central government had set a target of 2.4% for regional government debt.

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