Thursday, May 31, 2012

ECB warns Euro survival at risk - money flies out of Spain

The European Central Bank stepped up pressure on Thursday for a joint guarantee for bank deposits across the euro zone, saying Europe needed new tools to fight bank runs as the bloc's debt crisis drives investors to flee risk.
The European Commission's top economic official, Olli Rehn, warned that the single currency area could disintegrate without stronger crisis-fighting mechanisms and tough fiscal discipline.
The twin warnings came as worries about Spain's banks and Greece's survival in the euro area pushed the euro to a two-year low against the dollar and hastened a rush into safe-haven assets such as Austrian and French bonds, whose 10-year yields hit a euro-era low.
Spaniards alarmed by the dire state of their banks moved more money abroad in March faster than at any time since records began in 1990, official figures showed.
The 66.2 billion euros ($82.0 billion) net capital flight occurred before the nationalisation of Spain's fourth biggest lender, Bankia <B KIA.M>, in May due to massive losses from a burst property bubble.
MADRID (Reuters) - Spaniards alarmed by the dire state of their banks are squirreling money abroad at the fastest rate since records began, figures showed on Thursday, and the credit ratings of eight regions were cut.

Spain is the next country in the firing line of the euro zone's debt crisis, with spendthrift regions and shaky banks threatening to blow a hole in state finances and pushing funding costs towards levels that signal the need for a bailout.

The European Commission gave new help on Wednesday, offering direct aid from a euro zone rescue fund to recapitalize Spanish banks and more time for Madrid to reduce its budget deficit.
That helped lower the risk premium investors demand to hold Spanish 10-year debt rather than the German benchmark on Thursday, but it remained close to the euro-era record, at 520 basis points.

Bank of Spain data showed a net 66.2 billion euros ($82.0 billion) was sent abroad last month, the most since records began in 1990. The figure compares to a 5.4 billion net entry of funds during the same month one year ago.