Market euphoria over Spanish bank bailout fizzles

Mon Jun 11, 2012 5:04pm EDT
 
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By Sonya Dowsett and Gareth Jones

MADRID/BERLIN (Reuters) - Financial market euphoria over a European bailout for Spain's debt-stricken banks faded quickly on Monday as investors sounded the alarm over its impact on public debt and bondholders, and eyed the next risks in the euro zone's debt crisis.

EU and German officials said Spain faces supervision by international lenders after the deal to lend Madrid up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion), contradicting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy who insisted the cash came without such strings.

European stocks leapt to a four-week high, with investors scooping up battered financial shares. But Spanish and Italian bond yields rose sharply as doubts set in about the impact and terms of the deal, designed to avert a run on Spanish banks.

Cyprus, which is deeply exposed to Greece, strongly hinted on Monday that it may apply for an international bailout before the end of this month, both for its banks and for the state. It would be the fifth member of the 17-nation euro area to require assistance since the debt crisis erupted in Greece in late 2009.

The European Commission's top economic official, Olli Rehn, told Reuters in an interview that the pre-emptive action to support Spain "is critical for calming down market turbulence in Europe and (ensuring) the proper functioning of the financial system in Spain".

Bondholders are worried that the rescue will weigh on Spain's fast-rising public debt. They also fear that if the euro zone's future permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, is used for the rescue, they will be subordinate to official creditors and face losses in any debt restructuring.

"The EU is selling this as a 'great victory', but when you look at the details, this is a loan, and we don't know yet where the money will be coming from. At the end of the day, it will increase Spain's debt-to-GDP ratio no matter what they say," said Steen Jakobsen, chief economist at Saxo Bank in Copenhagen. <MKTS /GLOB}

Previous "bailout bounces" have been short-lived, often fizzling within a day or two as investors anticipate the next flare-up in the euro zone's unresolved debt crisis.   Continued...

 
A woman covers her mouth with a fake Euro note during a protest against Spain's bailout at La Constitucion square in Malaga, southern Spain, June 10, 2012. REUTERS/Jon Nazca