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French deficit, public debt in 2013 worse than expected

French public deficit and debt in 2013 were higher than previous government estimates, official data showed on Monday, dealing a fresh blow to President Francois Hollande a day after disastrous local polls. French public deficit stood at 4.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared with 4.9 percent the previous year, according to data released by the INSEE statistics agency. Previous government estimates said it would stand at 4.1 percent.

Italy's borrowing costs fall as confidence improves

Italy's borrowing costs fell on Friday in a bond auction that raised 6.75 billion euros ($9.26 billion) in the latest sign of improved investor confidence as the economy gradually emerges from a painful recession. The rate demanded by investors for the 3.0 billion euros in five-year bonds that were sold fell to the lowest ever level of 1.88 percent, compared to 2.14 percent in the last similar auction in February. The remainder in 10-year bonds was auctioned at a rate of 3.29 percent, down from 3.42 percent last month.

Lower UK gilt issuance reflects new pensioner bond, says debt agency head

By Ana Nicolaci da Costa LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's plans to sell fewer bonds than forecast in the coming financial year partly reflects the introduction of a new pensioner bond, the head of the country's debt agency said on Wednesday. The UK Debt Management Office said earlier that Britain would sell 128.4 billion pounds ($213 billion) of government bonds in the 2014/15 fiscal year, down from 153.4 billion pounds in 2013/14 and below a forecast of 150.5 billion pounds in a Reuters poll.

East-West standoff complicates any IMF deal for Ukraine

By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - Ukrainian bond prices are holding up better than expected in the stand-off with Russia because investors think the International Monetary Fund might not impose tough conditions in an expected aid program due to Kiev's political importance to the West. Rather like Pakistan in 2001, which was seen as key in the fight against al Qaeda, some in markets say the IMF, from which Ukraine is seeking financial support, could hand it the money it needs to avoid a default without many of the usual strings.

Paris Club invites Argentina to hold debt negotiation

By Leigh Thomas PARIS (Reuters) - The Paris Club invited the Argentine government on Friday to negotiate paying off its overdue debt, with talks starting in the week of May 26 to take an important step towards settling the long-running debt dispute. Eager to settle disputes with its creditors, Argentina outlined its conditions in January to repay the roughly $9.5 billion it owes Paris Club members.

Fed's balance sheet reaches $4 trillion at end of 2013

The Federal Reserve said Friday its balance sheet swelled to $4.0 trillion at the end of 2013 as it made massive asset purchases to support the US economy. The Fed, in a report of its 2013 financial results, said net assets increased by $1.1 trillion compared with its balance on December 31, 2012. It paid net profit of $79.6 billion to the US Treasury. By law, the non-profit central bank is required to turn over any profit in excess of operating and other expenses to the government.

Spanish public debt hits record high at close of 2013

Madrid, Mar 14 (EFE).- Spain's public-sector debt grew 8.58 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 to finish the year at 960.6 billion euros ($1.33 trillion), equivalent to a record-high 93.9 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Despite the high level of indebtedness, Spain's public debt for 2013 came in below the government's target of 94.21 percent of GDP.

Puerto Rico dodges debt bullet

Debt-laden Puerto Rico successfully issued $3.5 billion worth of bonds Tuesday in an effort to stave off default long enough for the US territory to right its finances. But the fresh fundraising came at a high cost, with the bonds sold at a yield of 8.727 percent, reflecting market concerns the Caribbean island will still struggle to turn around its situation. The Government Development Bank said it had increased the offering by $500 million due to strong demand, with bids from investors totaling $16 billion.

Puerto Rico dodges debt bullet

Debt-laden Puerto Rico successfully issued $3.5 billion worth of bonds Tuesday in an effort to stave off default long enough for the US territory to right its finances. But the fresh fundraising came at a high cost, with the bonds sold at a yield of 8.727 percent, reflecting market concerns the Caribbean island will still struggle to turn around its situation. The Government Development Bank said it had increased the offering by $500 million due to strong demand, with bids from investors totaling $16 billion.

Spain struggles to pull together multibillion euro highway bail-out

By Sonya Dowsett and Jose Elías Rodríguez MADRID (Reuters) - The Spanish government is working against the clock to reach a deal with builders over a multibillion euro bail-out for nine bankrupt motorways which could directly hit the country's deficit. Talks that have dragged on for months were abandoned at the end of last year, but have now resumed in the hope of finding a solution before the first of the companies starts liquidation proceedings in about a month.
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