News / Economy

Spain Denies Seeking Bank Bailout

Henry Ridgwell
LONDON - Spain's economy minister has been forced to deny reports his government is seeking international help to prop up its banks, as fears grow that many lenders are facing huge losses on loans.  Several banks in Europe's strongest economy, Germany, have also been drawn into the crisis.

Spain’s southern shoreline, the Costa del Sol, has long been a favorite on Europe's tourism map.  But alongside the beach bars and nightclubs are row after row of half-built, abandoned apartment blocks.

This is the center of a building boom that burst spectacularly with the global financial crisis.  Across Spain, banks gave billions of dollars to property developers trying to cash in.  They are left with huge debts.

The government is already nationalizing the ailing lender, Bankia, at an estimated cost of more than $25 billion.

Tobias Blattner is chief of economic research at Daiwa Capital Markets:

“Bankia is really just the tip of the iceberg, after all, because we know that they still have huge, massively bad loans on their balance sheets," said Blattner. "So I think they are in a very critical stage.  I think what we have seen is the approach that the Spanish government has taken so far was, in a way, not enough to convince the investors that Spanish banks are safe.”

Spain’s economy minister, Luis de Guindos, denied reports his country is seeking international support for its banks.

He stressed to reporters there was not a single question about an eventual rescue.
Spain wants to avoid following the path of countries like Greece and Portugal in tapping the European Union bailout mechanism, says Fidel Peter Helmer, a trader with Hauck and Aufhaeuser Private Bank.

Helmer says it would mean that Spain's sovereign rating would be further downgraded.  He says they want to avoid that because above all, the dilapidated banks are to blame for the misery.

The European Central Bank injected $660 billion worth of liquidity into the continent’s banking system in February.  That medicine appears to be wearing off.  Wednesday, six German banks had their credit rating downgraded by Moody’s because of fears of their exposure to bad debt.

Meanwhile, the European Commission is unveiling plans to avoid taxpayer-funded bailouts in the future.

Michel Barnier is commissioner for internal markets:

Barnier says in the banking sector, the commission wants more surveillance, more prevention and more caution.  He says it does not want taxpayers to pay any longer.
Those proposals would not come into law until 2014 at the earliest, and analysts say they do little to put out the fires raging in Europe’s banking system.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8896
JPY
USD
119.26
GBP
USD
0.6475
CAD
USD
1.2451
INR
USD
61.816

Rates may not be current.