Spain’s banks are getting a series of loans. Hooray. The rather vague Eurogroup statement on Spain is here. It’s being reported that Spain will require up to 100 billion euro for its banks, which will be added to its national debt. The money will come in tranches, first from the EFSF, and then later from the ESM. There aren’t specific austerity measures attached to this series of loans. People in Ireland are sure to lose their minds over the fact that there won’t be specific conditionality attached to these loans, and the IMF will be ‘observers’ rather than actually part of a Troika of funders. The talk generally is likely to be something like ‘why couldn’t we get such a deal’, and apparently Minister Noonan will be bringing this up with his colleagues at a later date.
It should be noted however that Spain is already enduring a fair bit of austerity, has already signed up to the Fiscal Treaty, and so will have to produce a `programme’ of sorts under its own steam. Spain’s economy is also in pretty rough shape. I made the chart below from FRED to show household debt as a percentage of GDP (left hand axis) and unemployment in Spain (right hand axis), two variables we should be interested in. Clearly with an unemployment rate heading for 25%, a very indebted household sector, and a set of bunched bank balance sheets, the Spaniards have their work cut out for them even without a further programme of adjustment.
A few things to consider:
1. Will treating Spanish banks separately (in some sense) to the sovereign prevent its bond yields from spiking?
2. What will the effect on the EFSF and ESM balance sheets from a large scale Spanish ‘withdrawal’?
3. Will everyone now immediately target Italy (or Belgium) as the next domino to fall?