Sunday

1st Aug 2021

Spanish rescue pleases markets, but doubts remain

  • Markets and the euro went up on Monday (Photo: stefan)

Shares jumped and the euro made gains on Monday (11 June) after the eurozone announcement of a €100 billion rescue for Spain's banks. But the euphoria is likely to be short-lived.

Asian markets surged by almost two percent and the euro made gains against the US dollar and the Japanese yen on the first business day after the Saturday bail-out announcement.

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"It is a very clear signal to the market, to the public, that the euro (area) is ready to take decisive action in order to calm down market turbulence and contagion," EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn said.

Germany, France, the US and the International Monetary Fund were quick to welcome the deal on Saturday, even though the details and the exact sum - up to €100 billion - are yet to be determined.

Finland has already made clear that it will ask for special guarantees if the temporary bail-out fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, is used for the rescue.

If the funds are channelled via the yet-to-be-set-up European Stability Mechanism, Helsinki will not demand such guarantees, as it would carry less risks for Finnish taxpayers, Finnish finance minister Jutta Urpilainen told public broadcaster YLE.

Meanwhile, the Finnish opposition urged the government not to pay anything to Spanish banks.

"The banks need capital, but it should come from Spain, Germany and France, who have created this mess. Finland should not have any part in this," the leader of the populist Finns Party, Timo Soini, said Sunday.

Investment banks also warned their customers that the Spanish rescue does not solve the fundamental problems of the eurozone crisis.

While calling it a "positive near-term development for Spain, and in particular for its banks," Goldman Sachs warned in a research note that: "It does not solve Spain's overall fiscal and macroeconomic challenges, which remain substantial."

It added that the region's crisis "continues to be addressed on a country-by-country basis rather than at a systemic level."

And Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel-prized economist, warned that the rescue is doing little to break the vicious circle of cash-strapped Spanish banks lending to an indebted government.

"The system ... is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government," Stiglitz told The Telegraph in an interview.

"It's voodoo economics. It is not going to work and it's not working," he added.

The Irish Times meanwhile noted that the Spanish deal has dashed hopes in Dublin for a sweetened arrangements on its own bail-out.

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