Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spanish Bank Bailout

The ECB, EU and Spain
Gave a lesson in legerdemain,
In pledging a sum,
Knowing not where it's from,
Or where it would end up a-gain.

A €100 billion "bailout" of Spanish banks announced on the weekend turned out to be less than meets the eye. Global equity markets tumbled and Spanish government bond yields jumped to 6.521% as investors considered the unresolved issues in the European initiative. For starters, nobody knows yet where the money will come from - the old European Financial Stability Facility, or the new European Stabilization Mechanism. If the latter, the "aid" will comprise a loan to the Spanish government, the proceeds of which will be invested in Spanish banks. This government loan, equal to 10% of existing government debt, would be senior to that existing debt. This means that a short-term fix for the banks would end up damaging the attractiveness of Spanish government bonds, the core holders of which are...Spanish banks.

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