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    Spain on course to meet deficit target: Minister

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    Spain on course to meet deficit target: Minister
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    Madrid: Spain was on course to meet its deficit cutting target, despite a year-on-year increase in the deficit-to-GDP ratio in the first quarter of 2012, said Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro.

    Addressing the Spanish parliament, Montoro said Tuesday the central government's budget gap stood at 0.83 percent of the country's economic output by the end of March this year. The figure for the January-March period in 2011 was 0.64 percent, reported Xinhua.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's newly-elected conservative government is facing daunting challenges as it pursues what it describes as the biggest austerity drive since 1978.

    It approved a 2012 budget April 3 that included 27 billion euros ($35 billion) in spending cuts and tax hikes, and set its targets to slash public deficit from a runaway 8.5 percent of GDP to 5.3 percent this year and just 3.0 percent in 2013.

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