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THE Bank of Spain has confirmed that the Balearics was the region of Spain registering the highest growth in debt during 2003.
Sums owing rose during the 12-month period by 29.8 percent to reach 605 million euros.
In total, the debt for the whole country reached a new historic maximum at the end of 2003, to stand at 66'808 million euros. This represents an increase of 4.8 percent in relation to the previous year. In real terms, debt for the self-governing regions in 2003 rose to 43'565 million euros, an amount equivalent to 5.9 percent of Gross Product and to a growth of 4.6 percent over and above figures for 2002. Local corporations ran up a debt of 23'243 million, 3.1 percent of Gross Product (5% more). Following on behind the Balearics, with the greatest growth in debt, were the Canary Islands (20.1%), Valencia (11.5%), Cantabria (11.4%), La Rioja (10.8%), the Basque Country (10.2%), Castilla y León (6%), Asturias (5.9%), Andalucia (3.2%), Castilla-La Mancha (2.9%), Aragón (2.1%), Madrid (1.9%), Cataluña (1.2%), Galicia (0.8%) and Murcia (0.1%), and no percentage variations in Extremadura and Navarra. The region with the largest debt figure was Catalonia (9'665 million euros) followed by Valencia (7'668), Andalucia (7'338), Madrid (6'246), Galicia (3'156), Castilla y León (1'424), Aragón (1'107), the Basque Country (1'084) and the Canaries (1'021). Nevertheless, the largest debt/Gross Product ratios were registered in Valencia (10.6%), Galicia (8%), Andalucia (7.3%), Catalonia (7.1%), Extremadura (6.2%), Asturias (5.2%), Navarra (5.1%) and Madrid (4.9%).
Local Council debt
Of the total debt of local corporations, the greatest part (17'957 million euros) was shown to have been run up by town councils. From this sum, 7'726 million were attributable to regional capitals (including the self-governing Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa), and 10'241 millions to the remainder. Within the records for indebtedness in the regional capitals, the Bank of Spain makes a distinction between the debt of those councils where the town has a population of more than 500'000 inhabitants (Barcelona, Madrid, Málaga, Sevilla, Valencia and Zaragoza), where 4'485 million euros showed in red figures; and the towns with lesser numbers, where debt ran to 3'241 million.