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Spain sells $7.74 bln in debt sale with demand strong and interest rates down sharply

In this photo taken Jan. 14, 2013, Tomas Jimenez, 44 years-old Spanish farmer, left, works in the rain to harvest winter cabbage, beside other labourers Ismael, 29, of Morocco, second left, Emilio of Spain, 53, and Morocco's farmer Abd Arahime, in the small town of Peralta, northern Spain, on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

MADRID - Spain has sold an above-target 5.8 billion ($7.74 billion) in short-term bills at a sharply reduced interest rate, reflecting easing investor concern over the country's ability to manage its finances without a bailout.

The Treasury sold 3.25 billion in 12-month bills at an average interest rate of 1.47 per cent, down from 2.56 per cent in the last such auction Dec. 11.

It placed 2.51 billion in 18-month bills on a yield of 1.69 per cent, compared with 2.79 per cent last month.

Demand was more than double the amount offered overall Tuesday.

Spain's borrowing costs have plunged from unsustainable highs last year after the European Central Bank pledged to help countries by buying up their short-term bonds if they apply for help. Spain says it does not need outside aid for the moment.


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