Spain's 2013 public deficit 6.6 pct of GDP vs target of 6.5 pct

MADRID, March 28 Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:54am EDT

MADRID, March 28 (Reuters) - Spain's public deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product was 6.6 percent for 2013, Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro said on Friday, slightly higher than the official target of 6.5 percent.

The budget shortfall has come down from much higher levels a few years ago but remains one of the euro zone's largest as Spain emerges from a deep recession and tackles the cost of soaring unemployment. The public deficit was 6.8 percent in 2012.

"This is a positive figure, more so considering it was a year of recession... This figure will be lower once GDP is modified (under new Eurostat rules) ... which means we can say Spain has met its target," Montoro said in a press conference following the weekly cabinet meeting.

The 6.6 percent figure does not include aid granted to Spain's banks, which included an EU-bailout programme worth 41.3 billion euros ($56.74 billion).

Including the financial sector aid, the deficit was 7.1 percent of GDP, Montoro said. ($1 = 0.7278 Euros) (Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; Writing by Paul Day)

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