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Spain sells short-term debt but rates rise

Source: AFP - Mon 18th Apr 2011

Spain raised 4.66 billion euros in short-term debt on Monday but had to pay more than previously as Portugal's bailout talks sparked fresh fears over Madrid's ability to stabilise its own public finances.

The treasury said it raised 3.51 billion euros in 12-month bonds at an average yield, or rate of return for investors, of 2.77%, up from the 2.128% paid at the last such auction on March 15.

It raised 1.15 billion euros in 18-month bills, paying 3.364%, up sharply from 2.436% last month.

Demand totalled 8.1 billion euros at the auction in which Spain aimed to sell between 4.5 and 5.5 billion euros in the 12- and 18-month bonds.

Portugal on April 6 became the third member of the euro zone after Greece and Ireland to request a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.

The move has revived market fears that the debt contagion could hurt neighbouring Spain, Portugal's biggest trading partner, even though the Spanish economy seems to be turning around.

Spain has strengthened bank balance sheets, cut spending and pursued economic reforms to allay market fears that it will also need a bailout.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has vowed to bring the country's public deficit to within a EU limit of 3.0% of gross domestic product in 2013.

The public deficit hit 11.1 percent of GDP in 2009, the third-highest in the eurozone after Greece and Ireland.

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