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Fitch downgrades three more Spanish regions

Fitch Ratings downgraded its credit rating for three more Spanish regions on Monday, three days after it slashed Spain’s rating by two notches blaming regional government spending.

The ratings agency cut the credit rating of Asturias, Cantabira and Madrid by one notch to “AA-” from “AA” and said their outlook was negative, meaning it could be lowered again.

Fitch Ratings slashed Spain’s sovereign credit rating by two notches on Friday to AA-minus from AA-plus, citing weak economic growth prospects, the worsening eurozone debt crisis and doubts over the ability of the country’s 17 regional governments to rein in spending.

Last month the agency cut the ratings of Catalonia, Andalusia, the Canary Islands, Murcia and Valencia after official figures showed most regions missed their deficit targets for the first half of 2011.

The regions, which control more than a third of public spending, are at the heart of Spain’s effort to cut its deficit to 6.0 percent of output this year from 9.3 percent in 2010 as it tries to avoid following Greece, Ireland and Portugal in requiring a financial bailout.

“Fitch is of the opinion that considerable efforts will still need to be undertaken by the regions, particularly in the area of cost control, to ensure adherence to the established limits,” the agency said Friday when it cut Spain’s credit rating.

Fitch on Monday also cut the credit ratings of three cities — Vigo, La Coruna and Barcelona — as well as of the province of Barcelona, which is overseen by the regional government of Catalonia.

Spain aims to reach the EU-agreed debt ceiling of 3.0 percent of gross domestic product by 2013.