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24. maj 2011

Europe Debt Concerns Grow – Spanish Vote Results, Greek Woes, Ratings Warnings Add to Fears


Excerpt from: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303654804576341360700625224.html?mod=djemITPE_h
By JONATHAN HOUSE And DAVID ROMÁN

“MADRID—Concerns mounted about Europe’s debt problems following a crushing defeat for Spain’s ruling party in weekend elections, compounded by infighting in Europe over whether Greek government bonds should be restructured and new warnings from credit-rating agencies.

The euro fell sharply, slipping below $1.40 for a while Monday, its lowest level in two months, and European stocks and bond prices moved lower. Government-bond prices continued their declines of last week, adding to anxiety by making it more expensive for governments to fund themselves. Spain’s 10-year government bonds now yield more than 5.5%.

The heavier-than-expected losses for Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s Socialist Party raise questions about his government’s ability to pursue plans to overhaul the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy and thereby ward off an international bailout.
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Following Sunday’s vote in 13 out of Spain’s 17 regions, the Socialists could lose as many as six of the seven regional governments they controlled to the opposition Popular Party, led by Mariano Rajoy.

As part of a backlash sparked by a deep economic crisis and 21% unemployment, the Socialists polled around 10 percentage points lower than Mr. Rajoy’s party in municipalities across Spain. The Popular Party was, on average, one point ahead in the 2007 elections.

Anxieties about Europe’s debt problems have been fanned further by a dispute between the European Central Bank and euro-zone governments about what to do about Greece’s large and growing debt burden…”