Spain regions close to 2011 deficit target: ministry

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Spain's regions are close to the government's target for limiting the budget deficit this year, according to figures for the first nine months of 2011 released Monday.

Figures announced by Finance Minister Elena Salgado showed the deficit for the autonomous regions was 1.19 percent of gross domestic product for January to September, close to the target of 1.3 percent for the whole of 2011.

The figures were good news for Spain's incoming conservative government which is under pressure to cut the deficit and reassure the markets that lend it money of its financial stability.

Spain has promised to trim its overall national deficit, a big worry for financial markets, from 9.3 percent of GDP last year to 6.0 percent this year and 4.4 percent in 2012.

To do this the outgoing Socialist government imposed a 1.3 percent deficit limit on the regional governments.

The conservative Popular Party, which won a crushing victory in Spain's November 20 general election, has said it will slash spending further to meet the targets.

© 2011 AFP

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