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Spain raises $6.04 bln in successful debt sale

MADRID -- Spain has raised (EURO)4.6 billion ($6 billion) at a sharply lower cost amid growing expectations that the cash-strapped country will soon make a request for international help to deal with its finances.

The Treasury sold (EURO)1.51 billion in 10-year bonds Thursday at an average interest rate of 5.46 percent, down from 5.66 percent in the last such auction Sept. 20. It also sold (EURO)1.46 billion in five-year bonds at 3.98 percent, down from 4.60 percent, and (EURO)1.64 billion worth of three-year bonds at 3.23 percent, which was below last time's 3.68 percent.

Demand was more than twice the amount offered.

Spain says it will soon decide whether to look to tap a European Central Bank bond-buying program largely designed to keep a lid on its borrowing costs.