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Spanish banks' bad loan ratio edges higher

MADRID (AP) -- The proportion of bad loans on Spanish banks' books has reached a record of 11.7 percent as more companies and individuals defaulted amid the recession.

Figures released Monday by the central bank show non-performing loans totaled 176.4 billion euros ($235.3 billion) in June, up from 170.21 billion euros in May.

The ratio has soared from 1 percent in 2007, a year before Spain's property market collapsed, ushering in a crisis. Spain has been in recession for most of the past four years and has a 26.3 percent unemployment rate.

The government claims its austerity measures and reforms are working and predicts the recession will end this year, but international experts are less optimistic.

Spain was forced to ask for a 100-billion euro bailout for its banks last year.