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Spain meets bond sale target in key debt test by raising 3.99 billion euros

MADRID -- Fending off bailout speculation, Spain met a key bond sale target Thursday by raising 3.99 billion euros (US$5.2 billion) at interest rates that were mostly lower.

The Treasury, which aimed to borrow 3-4 billion euros, comfortably raised the funds in an auction of two-, three- and five-year bonds, proving it can still tap the markets for financing.

Facing a recession that has left one in four workers unemployed, a bulging deficit and high borrowing costs, Spain is under rising pressure from markets and some eurozone partners to seek a sovereign bailout.

The European Central Bank has outlined a plan to buy Spanish bonds on the open market to curb interest rates, but only if Madrid submits to strict conditions from European bailout funds.

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