Volledige financiele redding voor Spanje onderweg ?.........
Two key events on Tuesday will help determine the direction Spain, one of the euro zone’s biggest and most troubled economies, will take in the next few months.
A report prepared by the “Big Four” auditors (Deloitte, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young) into the source of much of Spain’s woes, its banking sector, is due Tuesday.
With the first tranche of aid for Spanish banks, amounting to 30 billion euros ($36.8 billion), due soon, this report could help assess who needs the recapitalization cash and how urgently.
BBVA, the country’s second-biggest bank, thought to be much stronger than smaller regional banks, reported disappointing first half net profits Tuesday - down 35 percent, to 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion), after it wrote down 1.4 billion euros in real estate losses.
The under-fire Spanish government is expected to submit its 2012–2014 budget plan to the European Commission, a condition of extending its deficit cutting. Data on that deficit up to June will be published later on Tuesday.
If that data chimes with recent gloomy figures on Spain's GDP and unemployment, it will not make for pleasant reading.
GDP sank by 0.4 percent in the second quarter, while unemployment hit a euro-era high of 24.6 percent.
Comparisons with Italy, tipped as the country which might be next to seek a bailout if the Spanish government goes cap-in-hand to the international rescue fund of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF - click here for an explanation), are getting worse.
“They’re both deteriorating countries but Spain faces a much tougher economic proposition,” Alberto Gallo, senior European credit strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Tuesday.
“As a whole, Italy’s a more diversified economy. Spain needs urgent surgery in terms of reforms and economic aid. Italy’s problems are more political than economic.”
Spain’s banks are worth more than three times its GDP, while Italy’s are closer to twice its GDP. Italy’s mortgage debt is also less than half that on Spain’s books.
“We continue to expect a deterioration (for Spain) going forward. The situation from a macro standpoint remains difficult,” Gallo said.
He believes that Spain needs to change its focus from austerity to growth.
Robert Mundell, the Nobel Prize-winning economist known as the “father of the euro” told CNBC earlier this week that it is “clear” Spain will need a full bailout - although respected economist Jim O’Neill, head of asset management at Goldman Sachs, disagreed.
Gallo recommends selling BBVA bonds and buying UniCredit bonds to bet on Italy outperforming Spain.
“There has been a lot of focus on sovereigns. In banks, in CDS, Italian banks are wider compared to Spanish. You see the opposite in government bonds and that’s not sustainable,” he said.
Spanish bond yields have come down this week, but are still trading close to euro-era highs, while Italy’s have been consistently lower.
By Catherine Boyle