Investment Watchblog What happens when debt-fueled false prosperity disappears? Just look at Spain. The 4th largest economy in Europe was riding high during the boom years, but now the Spanish economy is collapsing with no end in sight. When a debt bubble gets interrupted, the consequences can be rather chaotic.
Just like we saw in Greece, austerity is causing the economy to slow down in Spain. But when the economy slows down, tax revenues fall and that makes it even more difficult to meet budget targets. So even more austerity measures are needed to keep debt under control and the cycle just keeps going. Unfortunately, even with all of the recently implemented austerity measures the Spanish government is still not even close to a balanced budget.
Meanwhile, the housing market in Spain is crashing and unemployment is already above 24 percent. The Spanish banking system is a giant, unregulated mess that is on the verge of a massive implosion, and the Spanish stock market has been declining rapidly. The Spanish government is going to need a massive bailout and so will the entire Spanish banking system. But that is going to be a huge problem, because the Spanish economy is almost 5 times as large as the Greek economy. When the Spanish financial system collapses, the entire globe is going to feel the pain and there will be no easy solution.
So just how bad are things in Spain at this point?
The following are 22 signs that the collapsing Spanish economy is heading into a great depression….
#1 The unemployment rate in Spain has reached 24.4 percent – a new all-time record high. Back in April 2007, the unemployment rate in Spain was only 7.9 percent.
#2 The unemployment rate in Spain is now higher than the U.S. unemployment rate was during any point during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
#3 According to CNBC, some analysts are projecting that the unemployment rate in Spain is going to go above 30 percent.
#4 The unemployment rate for those under the age of 25 in Spain is now a whopping 52 percent.
#5 There are more than 47 million people living in Spain today. Only about 17 million of them have jobs.
#6 Retail sales in Spain have declined for 21 months in a row.
#7 The Bank of Spain has officially confirmed that Spain has already entered another recession.
#8 Last week, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services slashed Spain’s credit ratingfrom A to BBB+.
#9 The yield on 10-year Spanish bonds is up around 6 percent again. That is considered to be very dangerous territory.
#10 Two of Spain’s biggest banks have announced that they are going to stop increasing their holdings of Spanish government debt.
#11 Of all the loans held by Spanish banks, 8.15 percent are considered to be “bad loans”.
#12 The total value of all bad loans in Spain is equivalent to approximately 13 percent of Spanish GDP.
#13 Of all real estate assets held by Spanish banks, more than 50 percent of them are considered to be “troubled” by the Spanish government.
#14 That total amount of money loaned out by Spanish banks is equivalent toapproximately 170 percent of Spanish GDP.
#16 Spanish housing prices are now down 25 percent from the peak of the housing market and Citibank’s Willem Buiter expects the eventual decline to be somewhere around 60 percent.
#17 It is being projected the the economy of Spain will shrink by 1.7 percentthis year, although there are some analysts that feel that projection is way too optimistic.
#18 The Spanish government has announced a ban on all cash transactionslarger than 2,500 euros.
#19 One key Spanish stock index has already fallen by more than 19 percentso far this year.
#20 The Spanish government recently admitted that its 2011 budget deficit wasmuch larger than originally projected and that it probably will not meet its budget targets for 2012 either.
#21 Spain’s debt to GDP ratio is projected to rise by more than 11 percentduring 2012.
#22 Worldwide exposure to Spanish debt is estimated to be well over a trillion euros.
Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece went down.
Greece is already suffering through a great depression and now Spain is joining them. The following is from a recent BBC article….
“In Spain today, a cycle similar to Greece is starting to develop,” said HSBC chief economist Stephen King.
“The recession is so deep that when you take one step forward on austerity, it takes you two steps back.”
In Spain right now there is a lot of fear and panic about the economy. In many areas, it seems like absolutely nobody is hiring right now. The following is from a recent USA Today article….
“The situation is very bad. There’s no work,” said Enrique Sebastian, a 48-year-old unemployed surgery room assistant as he left one of Madrid’s unemployment offices. “The only future I see is one with wages of €400 ($530) a month for eight-hour days. And that’s if you can find it.”
But Spain is just at the beginning of a downward spiral. Just wait until they have been through a few years of economic depression. Once that happens, millions of people begin to lose all hope. A recent Reuters article discussed the epidemic of suicides that is happening in Greece right now….
On Monday, a 38-year-old geology lecturer hanged himself from a lamp post in Athens and on the same day a 35-year-old priest jumped to his death off his balcony in northern Greece. On Wednesday, a 23-year-old student shot himself in the head.
In a country that has had one of the lowest suicide rates in the world, a surge in the number of suicides in the wake of an economic crisis has shocked and gripped the Mediterranean nation – and its media – before a May 6 election.
And you know what?
The nightmares that we are seeing unfold in Spain and Greece right now are just a preview of what is coming to most of the rest of the world.
The next wave of the economic crisis will soon envelop the United States, Japan and the rest of Europe.
When it strikes, the pain will be immense.
But it won’t be the end – it will only be just the beginning.
The global financial system is starting to crumble.
You better get ready.
Call me a prophet of doom if you want, but Europe’s meltdown isn’t a recession – it’s a coming depression
The interest rates on Spanish government debt are now heading up towards 8%. If you want to borrow money from the bank, you can likely do it cheaper than that. You personally may have a better credit rating than the Spanish government right now. In any case, a government can’t pay those punitive rates when its debt is gaping, its deficit out of control, and its economy in recession.
There’s muttering about a €300 billion bailout, which would keep Spain away from the financial markets for three years, but so what? For reasons I’m about to come to, I don’t think such a bailout could possibly happen, but even if it did, so what? Spain’s problem is too much debt piled onto a creaky economy. That €300 billion ‘bailout’ wouldn’t be a gift, it would be a loan. The solution to too much debt is not more debt. (And, for that matter, Mr King, the solution to wehater siteey is not to print an endless supply of the stuff.) Naturally a giant bailout would kick the problem down the road, but bankruptcy is bankruptcy no matter when you meet it.
That’s point one. Point two is that Germany (and creditworthy northern Europe in general) is coming to the end of its borrowing capacity…Germany is now on credit watch for a possible downgrade. No wonder Angela Merkel is showing the strain.
Point three: the terrible data, released today, about the British recession. I said we were in recession back in autumn last year. (No one believed me but, hey, I’m used to it.) And now we find that we’ve actually had three successive quarters of recession, with the last quarter the worse of the lot. Even if things turn up – and, pardon me for asking, but do you see any grounds for optimism right now? – we’ve still experienced the worst recession in British economic history. Not a bit worse than the Great Depression but, by now, very significantly worse.
… There’s a big storm coming and it’s about to strike.
A bank-by-bank test of financial stability due on Friday is expected to conclude that Spain’s lenders are dangerously over-burdened with toxic debts and need to be recapitalised, restructured or shut down.
The stress test is expected to show a dramatic deterioration since the previous tests were carried out at the beginning of the summer which suggested a €60bn cash injection would be the worst-case scenario.
Nomura Global Economics said in a note: “Our initial reaction to the publication of those estimates has been negative. The announced figures are well below the market expectations, which start at around €100bn, and, in our view, not only fall short of bolstering market confidence but may actually increase the risk of Spain losing market access.”
Last week, the Bank of Spain said bad debts at Spanish lenders had risen to record levels, with almost one in 10 loans in arrears. It is the highest bad-loan ratio since central bank records began in 1962.
“Spain’s economic slump has frayed nerves across the country, much as it did before the Civil War in the 1930s. Unemployment has risen to 25.1pc and may go higher as the delayed effects of austerity bite deeper.Citigroup expects the economy to contract by 3.2pc next year and 0.8pc in 2014, pushing public debt to 100pc of GDP.Chief economist Willem Buiter said the mix of austerity and reform will not restore Spain to “fiscal sustainability”, even if EU loans keep Spain going for another couple of years. He expects “debt restructuring” in the end. “
The 2008–2012 Spanish financial crisis began as part of the world Late-2000s financial crisis and continued as part of the European sovereign debt crisis, which has affected primarily the southern European states and Ireland.. In Spain, the crisis was generated by long-term loans (commonly issued for 40 years), the building market crash, which included the bankruptcy of major companies, and a particularly severe increase in unemployment, which rose to 24.4% by March 2012.
Spain continued the path of economic growth when the ruling party changed in 2004, keeping robust GDP growth during the first term of prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, even though some fundamental problems in the Spanish economy were already evident. Among these, according to the Financial Times, there was Spain’s huge trade deficit (which reached a staggering 10% of the country’s GDP by the summer of 2008), the “loss of competitiveness against its main trading partners” and, also, as a part of the latter, an inflation rate which had been traditionally higher than those of its European partners, back then especially affected by house price increases of 150% from 1998 and a growing family indebtedness (115%) chiefly related to the Spanish Real Estate boom and rocketing oil prices.
During the third quarter of 2008 the national GDP contracted for the first time in 15 years and, in February 2009, it was confirmed that Spain, along other European economies, had officially entered recession. The economy contracted 3.7% in 2009 and again in 2010 by 0.1%. It grew by 0.7% in 2011. By the 1st quarter of 2012, Spain was officially in recession once again. The Spanish government forecasts a 1.7% drop for 2012.