Madrid was dealt a double blow on Thursday after it emerged that almost €100bn in capital had left the country in the first three months of the year and the head of the European Central Bank lambasted its handling of Bankia, the troubled Spanish lender.
Data published by Spain’s central bank showed €97bn had been pulled out in the first quarter – around a 10th of the country’s GDP – as concerns mounted over Madrid’s ability to contain its twin economic and financial crises, which have forced government borrowing costs to euro-era highs.
The data appeared to corroborate earlier assessments from economists that foreign investors were selling Spanish assets, while Spanish banks were increasing their holdings of domestic bonds, helped by cash accessed through the ECB’s three-year liquidity operations.
“My concern is that we haven’t yet seen the most recent numbers, which could be far worse,” said Raj Badiani, an economist at IHS Global Insight. “We are seeing a perfect storm.”
In a damning indictment of Spain’s handling of the problems at Bankia, its third largest lender, ECB president Mario Draghi said national supervisors had repeatedly underestimated the amount a rescue would cost. He also cited the rescue of Dexia, the Franco-Belgian lender, as an example.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page