UPDATE 1-Spain will not have to ask for help – econ min

* Spain will not have to ask for help on its debt –
minister

* Says aid for Greece should be released as soon as
possible

* Sticking to deficit cuts, 2011 should be tighter yet

* Says Spanish unemployment has peaked at 20 percent
(Adds details, background)

MADRID, April 30 (BestGrowthStock) – Spain’s debt is under control
and it will not have to ask for help like fellow euro zone
member Greece, Economy Minister Elena Salgado said in an
interview with newspaper Cinco Dias published on Friday.

“Our debt is clean, we will not have to ask for help,” she
said.

The country is sticking to its targets to reduce the
deficit to 3 percent by 2013, she said, and next year’s budget
should be tighter than this year’s.

Wide-ranging cuts to government administration would be
announced on Friday, she added.

The Spanish public deficit was one of the highest in the
euro area at 11.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in
2009.

Officials from the International Monetary Fund, European
Union and European Central Bank are in Athens to negotiate a
Greek bailout and hope to wrap up a deal within days to avoid a
debt default that could threaten other weak EU countries such
as Portugal and Spain.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s cut its ratings on
Spain by one notch to AA from AA-plus on Wednesday, saying a
longer-than-expected period of low growth could undermine
efforts to cut the budget deficit.

A day earlier, S&P had cut Greece’s credit rating to junk
bond status and slashed its ratings on Portugal.

Salgado said she did not think the downgrade of Spain was
justified and that the agency was using much more pessimistic
forecasts than other analysts.

“Frankly, I think the concrete facts do not support this
decision,” she said.

She said decisions to aid countries in the euro zone which
come under speculative market attacks should be made more
quickly, and urged that the aid package for Greece be released
as soon as possible.

“The quicker it’s cleared the better because it’s
generating instability that is affecting us as well,” she said.

Salgado also said she believed Spanish unemployment had
peaked at 20 percent. Official data will be published on May 4.

Spain’s unemployment rate is the highest in the euro zone,
and has been a major factor preventing the country from
rebounding from its worst recession in decades.

Investment
(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Kim Coghill)

UPDATE 1-Spain will not have to ask for help – econ min