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STAFF REPORTER

MADRID
SPAIN'S central government budget deficit shot up fivefold from January to November compared with the same period last year, in part due to large fiscal stimulus programmes aimed at mitigating the economic crisis.

The deficit totalled 71.5 billion euros in the first 11 months of the year, compared with a shortfall of 14 billion in the same period of 2008, the Economy Ministry said yesterday.

The budget shortfall, equivalent to 6.8 percent of gross domestic product for the January to November period, has rocketed due to fiscal stimulus plans aimed at mitigating the effect of the economic crisis on unemployment and due to tumbling tax revenues.