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Montoro Says Spanish Regions on Course to Meet 1.5% Deficit Aim

Spanish Budget Minister Cristobal Montoro said regional governments are on course to meet their budget-deficit target this year.

The regions posted an overall deficit of 0.77 percent of gross domestic product in the first half compared with a full-year goal of 1.5 percent, Montoro said at a news conference in Madrid today. Excluding the effect of a program to accelerate payments to the regions, the shortfall was 0.93 percent.

Regional administrations have been the focus of concern that Spain may miss its overall budget-deficit commitments this year after borrowing the equivalent of 1.6 percent in the first half of 2011. Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia requested loans last month that would draw down more than half the government’s 18 billion-euro ($23 billion) regional rescue fund.

“There is a perception that our regional budgets are out of control,” Montoro said. “It’s not like that. They are making an effort.”

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