Spain extends rescue fund for regions into 2013

Spain's government said it will extend the life of a rescue fund through next year to help struggling regions finance crippling debts. 

In July, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy created the regional liquidity fund with a budget of 18 billion euros to bail out regions. 

The Budget Ministry said the money will help the regions to pay off arrears owed to suppliers, giving priority to essential services such as education, health and public services. 

Catalonia heads a list of nine regions that have requested a total of more than 17 billion euros in funding so far this year. 

The ministry said it has approved Catalonia's request for some 5 billion euros. 

Other regions requesting aid include the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Valencia.