The Spanish government’s debt has hit a record high as Madrid struggles to cut expenses and escape the eurozone debt crisis.
According to data published by Bank of Spain on Friday the country’s debt reached 734.96 billion Euros (USD 960 billion) at the end of 2010.
This is equivalent to 68.5 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP), while three months earlier Spain’s public debt was 66 of GDP percent and it was 61.2 percent at the end of last year.
Madrid’s built up debt has exceeded the European-Union agreed limit of 60 percent of GDP, it is, however, still less than the eurozone average, which came close to 90 percent in the third quarter of 2010.
2011 debt data has been the highest debt ratio recorded in Spain since economic data were first published in 1995 in the current format.
Yet’s Spain’s debt is also expected to continue to rise this year as it seeks to cut its deficit amid prospects of economic turmoil and weak tax receipts
The new data comes as Spain’s unemployment rate hit a 17-year high of 22.85 percent at the end of 2011, giving the country the highest rate among the 27 EU member states.
Battered by the global financial downturn, the Spanish economy collapsed into recession in the second half of 2008, destroying millions of jobs. Analysts say Spain’s economy is expected to enter into a new recession in the first two quarters of 2012.
Europe plunged into deep financial crisis in 2008, which has continued to intensify in recent months.
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