Despite the ratings agencies (Moody’s Dec 5th and S&P Nov 22nd) seemingly premature raising of the outlook for the nation’s sovereign credit rating (from negative to stable), economic hardship in Spain looks likely to continue as loan defaults surge and the unemployment rate remains the second highest in the EU.
25% of Working Population to Stay Unemployed
The IMF predicts Spain’s unemployment rate will remain at 25 percent or higher until 2018 even after the nation exited its recession in the third quarter. Spanish households’ average income fell to 23,123 euros per year in 2012, compared with 25,556 euros in 2008, the National Statistics Institute said on Nov. 20. That leaves 22.2 percent of the population at risk of poverty, according to Eurostat.
Bad Debts at Record High
Record bad loans may restrain the economic recovery. Spanish banks’ bad debt as a proportion of total lending rose to a record 12.68 percent in September, according to Bank of Spain data that began in 1962. Missed payments on mortgages are rising and defaults as a proportion of total mortgages jumped to 5.2 percent in the second quarter from 3.2 percent a year earlier.
House Prices May Fall Further
Banks are likely to remain under pressure as real estate values fall. House prices are down 28.2 percent from their peak. Fewer than 15,000 mortgages were granted in September, compared with about 129,000 at the September 2005 peak, according to the National Statistics Institute, pointing to more price declines. House prices may drop a further 13 percent by the end of 2014, S&P forecasts.
Corruption Levels Rise Most in Europe
Spain’s levels of perceived corruption rose the most in Europe last year, Transparency International’s annual rankings show. Spain fell six points to 59, ranking it 40th in the world. Only Syria fell by more. The so-called gray economy represents 18.6 percent of GDP according to analysis by Friedrich Schneider for the Institute of Economic Affairs. That is equivalent to about 183 billion euros.
But apart from that… it’s all good in Spain…
Source: Bloomberg Briefs