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Julien Behal/PA Wire

Spanish borrowing costs hit record high

Investor action this morning reflects growing scepticism about efforts to stabilise Spain’s banks.

SPANISH LONG-TERM borrowing costs jumped to record highs this morning as investors turned increasingly sceptical about government efforts to stabilise a stricken banking system and the public finances.

In early trade, the yield – the rate of return – on the benchmark Spanish 10-year government bond jumped to 7.343 per cent from 7.225 per cent on Friday, well above the 7.0 per cent danger level for long-term funding.

The Madrid stockmarket fell sharply at the opening, losing about 2.0 per cent after it slumped nearly 6.0 per cent on Friday.

Other European markets were lower today and borrowing costs for other struggling eurozone states also were under pressure as the debt crisis returned with a vengeance despite an EU bank rescue deal for Spain earlier this month.

The Spanish government recently announced massive spending cuts and other measures to stabilise its public finances but the programme seems only to have driven speculation that Madrid may need a full EU-IMF bailout.

The debt crisis has forced Greece, Ireland and Portugal to seek help but the Spanish economy is much larger than those three combined, raising concerns EU rescue mechanisms might not be enough, especially if Italy has problems too.

“The fresh tensions over the eurozone will hit risk assets,” Credit Agricole CIB analysts said in a note.

The Italian 10-year bond rose sharply Monday, with its yield jumping to 6.302 per cent from 6.149 per cent. Any yield over 6.0 per cent is widely seen as unsustainable for long-term fund, with 7.0 per cent the level at which Greece, Ireland and Portugal had to ask for outside help.

- (c) AFP, 2012

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