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Spain’s public debt hits new record; rating just above junk

DPA Madrid | Updated on March 12, 2018

The public debt of recession-hit Spain soared to a new record in the first quarter, hitting nearly 923 billion euros ($1.2 trillion), or 88.2 per cent of gross domestic product, the Bank of Spain said Friday.

That is up 19.09 per cent from the first quarter of 2012.

The public debt comprises the debt of the central, regional and local administrations.

Regional debt grew proportionately the fastest, by 29.5 per cent, to nearly 190 billion euros. North-eastern Catalonia was the most indebted among Spain’s 17 semi-autonomous regions, with debt of nearly 51 billion euros.

The ratings agency Standard & Poor’s, meanwhile, reaffirmed Spain’s credit rating at BBB—, which leaves it just above junk level.

The agency said Spain’s commitment to economic reforms remained strong, but that the long-term outlook was negative, given that political support for the reforms could dwindle.

Other risks included failing eurozone support and debt running out of control, S&P warned.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s government is struggling to reduce a budget deficit that amounted to nearly 7 per cent of GDP in 2012.

The European Union expects Spain’s economy to contract by 1.5 per cent this year. Unemployment has soared past 27 per cent.

Published on June 14, 2013

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