Spain Bailout Package of $77 Billion Will Not be Enough
The Spain bailout package has a steep price, but still might not be enough to save the country's banking sector.
Spanish economy minister Luis de Guindos formally asked Eurozone partners for up to 62 billion euros ($77.4 billion) to recapitalize his country's ailing domestic banks. The financial institutions are weighed down by bad loans to property and construction companies, and by an ongoing Eurozone debt crisis.
In a letter to the Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean Claude Juncker, who serves as head of the 17-nation Eurozone finance ministers, Guindos explained he wanted to settle on details and conditions of the loan before the next euro group meeting on July 9.
Juncker acknowledged receipt of the letter and said that the ministers expect to give a go-ahead to the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the European Banking Authority to negotiate terms of the bailout.
The request was anticipated after the results of two independent audits were released last week. Financial consultants Oliver Wyman and Roland Berger made the first step in a two-part audit of the Spanish banking system.
Wyman found that worst-case scenario, Spain's banking sector would need a bailout package of between 51 billion euros ($63.6 billion) and 62 billion euros ($77.4 billion). Berger estimated on the lower end with 51.8 billion euros ($64.6 billion).
The formal request for a Spain bailout has made investors more nervous, and is driving the bond yields higher, making it increasingly likely Spain will need more money to try and resolve its debt crisis.
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Credit Default Swaps:
Why Washington Ignored Our Warning
Three years ago, I told you that Wall Street's newest invention – credit default swaps – would cause a major financial crash.
Now, I'll concede that credit default swaps (CDS) weren't the only cause of the financial meltdown that brought about the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings (OTC: LEHMQ) and nearly brought down American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG). But these financial derivatives were a major exacerbating factor – which is why I also warned that credit default swaps should be banned.
Just three years later, we're embroiled in yet another financial crisis. But the stakes have grown: This time around we're talking about entire countries – and not just banks – defaulting on their debt. Not surprisingly, credit default swaps are once again at center stage.
Just yesterday (Monday), in fact, the possibility of a Greek-debt default drove spreads on Western European credit default swaps up to record levels, providing even more profits for those speculating against the overall health of the Western financial system. Those profits for speculators increase the overall losses in the world financial system whenever something goes wrong, creating the possibility that even moderate "credit events" could collapse the whole shaky edifice.
If Washington had heeded my warnings back before the first global financial crisis, you and I would be much better off today.
British General Election: Even the Winners Will be Losers
The British general election campaign reaches its climax on Thursday, and at this point appears to be anybody's game. The most likely outcome is a "hung parliament" in which no party has a majority and a government is formed through backroom haggling.
However, after looking yet again at the state of the economy in my native Britain, I'm forced to ask a simple question: Why would anybody want the job?
Money Morning Mailbag: How the Demise of Glass-Steagall Helped Spawn the Credit Crisis
Question: Please address why the removal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999 caused the financial meltdown of 2007 and why its reinstatement is the only way to stop the financially risky behavior allowed after it's removal. Address why we will very likely have another meltdown (probably in 2010) unless reinstated.
Answer: Mr. Scott: While the overturning of what remained of Glass-Steagall did not cause the meltdown, it certainly contributed mightily to the systemic nature of the crisis.
Allowing commercial banks and investment banks to marry created giant operations that became too big to fail and too profitable to break up. Everyone was making money. The overriding problem was not the integration of commercial (deposit-taking and loan-making) banks with investment (capital-markets trading) banks, but the extraordinary migration of all banks into the same products, trading, and risk-taking businesses. I am definitely including the ubiquitous game of mortgage origination, securitization, sales and trading.
Obama Aims to Spur Small Business Hiring With $30 Billion Lending Program
In the latest in a series of efforts to spur American businesses to hire more workers, President Barack Obama today (Tuesday) issued a proposal to provide community banks with $30 billion to increase lending to small businesses.
The new lending program aims to invest $30 billion in 8,000 banks to provide loans to businesses ready to hire new workers. Funding for the program would come from money returned by large banks to the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), and would require Congressional approval.
"Small businesses…have created roughly 65% of all new jobs over the past decade and a half. And I think we should make it easier for them," Mr. Obama said in a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal. "This will help small banks do even more of what our economy needs: ensure that small businesses are once again the engine of job growth in America."
Credit Trouble for Spain and Greece Spreads Fears of Sovereign Defaults
Standard & Poor's today (Wednesday) cut its credit outlook for Spain to "negative" from "stable," fanning concerns that sovereign defaults will spread throughout the global economy.
The dimmer outlook for Spain "reflects the risk of a downgrade within the next two years," S&P said.
It also increased fears among investors that the world could see a wave of global credit defaults. After the default of state-owned Dubai World forced investors to think twice about the recent rally in global stocks, Fitch Ratings Inc. on Tuesday cut Greece's credit rating to BBB+ from A-minus.