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Macedonia borrows $180 mln to cover budget gap

The Macedonian government on Wednesday started to borrow €138.4 million ($180 million) from domestic banks and funds to cover its budget deficit. Two million euros will be immediately used for repaying state bonds, while €136.4 million will be used for filling the budget gap. Macedonia initially tried to borrow €171 million but banks were no willing to lend such high amounts. The Ministry of Finance did not reveal how the rest of the gap of about €188 million would be covered. A deficit of €288 million is projected for 2013. Macedonia, with 2.1 million inhabitants, gained independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991. It has been continuously struggling with a high unemployment rate now at 32%. According to official figures, about 30% of Macedonians live in poverty.