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Demand lukewarm as Spain raises $6.2B in debt auctions, interest rates up
MADRID (AP) ' Spain has raised euro4.5 billion ($6.2 billion) in two debt auctions, with increased interest rates and weak demand showing investor unease amid the Greek debt crisis.
The treasury sold euro2.93 billion Thursday in five-year bonds with an average yield of 4.84 percent, up from 4.48 percent in the last such auction Sept. 1.
It also sold euro1.56 billion in bonds maturing January 2014 at an average interest rate of 4.27 percent.
Demand in both auctions was just over 1.5 times the amount supplied, while the amount sold was at the top of the targeted range.
The sale was the first in Spain since Greece announced this week it planned to stage a referendum on the European Union's plan to deal with that country's debt crisis.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
MADRID (AP) ' The number of people in Spain filing for unemployment benefits rose by more than 134,000 last month, the government reported Thursday, further reflecting the sad state of the euro-zone's fourth largest economy.
The increase raised the total seeking benefits to 4,360,926 and marked a 3.2 percent increase from September, the Labor Ministry said.
October is often bad for employment in Spain as it is the first month after the summer vacation season, when the tourism sector does a lot of hiring. But this October's rise was the biggest for such a month since 2008.
It was also the latest in a string of discouraging statistics that are almost certain to rattle investor confidence. The country's borrowing costs have soared over the past year because of those jitters and fears Spain might be the next country to need a bailout, after Greece, Ireland and neighboring Portugal.
Last week the Spanish government said the jobless rate stands at a 15-year high of 21.5 percent and the economy posted zero growth in the third quarter. The Bank of Spain says the stagnation is bad news for government efforts to meet deficit-reduction goals.
The overall number of people unemployed in Spain is 4,978,300. It is different from the jobless claims one because the overall figure includes people whose benefits have run out.
Opposition conservatives are projected to score a landslide win over the ruling Socialists in Nov. 20 general elections. Thursday's is the last major economic figure scheduled to be released before that vote.
Investors were also watching closely Thursday for a Spanish auction of up to euro4.5 billion ($6.2 billion) in 3- and 5-year bonds. It will be the first such sale since Greece's bombshell announcement that it will put the latest rescue package arranged for it by the European Union to a popular referendum.