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Spain Crisis: Pressure Eases On Key Borrowing Rate

"Banks must be recapitalized, banks must be able to work in order for economic growth to take place at all, and so we support this application that Spain will make."

Spain also tests market sentiment Thursday when it looks to auction ⿬2 billion in debt maturing in 2014, 2015 and 2017. A bond auction Tuesday saw healthy demand but sharply increased interest rates.

The EU, meanwhile, is said to be working on structuring a bank bailout so that it would cause least strain on Spanish government debt. Institutional rules mean the money from European bailout funds must be given directly to Spain.

Montoro told Parliament that Spain was now in a better situation to confront the crisis thanks to the austerity measures and banking and labor reforms the government has rushed in since taking office in December.

Labor unions have called a new round of demonstrations throughout Spain later Wednesday to protest the reforms.

Earlier, Moody's ratings agency downgraded ratings for Spanish telecommunications company Telefonica S.A., citing concern over the ailing economy and the impact this would have on consumer spending and Telefonica's domestic revenues.

Moody's downgraded Spain's government bond ratings to Baa3 from A3 earlier this month.


Alan Clendenning and Harold Heckle contributed to this report from Madrid.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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