Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Not if, but when" for Spain bailout, experts say

(Reuters) - Economic experts watching Spain don't know how much money will be needed or precisely when, but some are near certain that Madrid will eventually seek a multi-billion euro bailout for its banks, and perhaps even for the state itself.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has repeatedly said Spain doesn't need or want an international bailout, and the European Union, which along with the IMF has already rescued Greece, Ireland and Portugal, also dismisses such talk.

But economists believe that Spanish banks will have to turn to the euro zone's rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), for help in covering losses caused by a property market crash which has yet to end.

Likewise, investors are fretting about how Rajoy's centre-right government can enforce deep austerity while reviving a recession-bound economy at the same time.

"They're going to need EFSF money to recapitalize the banking sector," said Carsten Brzeski, a senior economist at ING in Brussels. "I think we'll only see a real end to the Spanish misery if the real estate market stabilizes." Read More