Bad Loans Continue To Rise
Bad loans held by Spanish banks jumped 256 percent in the 12 months to August, according to data from the Bank of Spain on Friday.
Bad loans totalled 43.359 billion euros in August, or 2.44 percent of total lending, up 5.325 billion euros from July. The data wcovered both commercial banks and regional savings banks controlled by regional governments. In the months prior to the summer, bad debts were rising at a rate of around 3 billion euros a month, but in July they jumped by 9.6 billion euros largely due to the impact of the insolvency of property company Martinsa Fadesa
Quote of the Day
We face difficult times for public finances, European Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said on Friday at a presentation.
Services Activity Down Again In August
In August, the Services Sector turnover decrease by 4.6% compared with August 2007. All sectors of the service industry decreased their turnover in interannual terms. Trade registered the greatest decrease, with an interannual rate of -5.9%, followed by Information Technologies ( 2.7%), Tourism (-2.3%), Transport (-1.6%) and Services rendered to companies (-0.9). The activities with the highest turnover growth were Air Transport and Investigation and security services (debt collection?), whose interannual growth rates were 7.3% and 7.0%, respectively. On the other hand, the greatest turnover decreases were registered in activities related with Vehicles and Fuel (-22.7%) and Labour recruitment and provision of personnel (-11.0%).
Conditions in the Spanish service sector appear to have worsened considerably in September. There were substantial declines in activity, new business and employment. Spanish companies were generally highly pessimistic about their prospects over the next twelve months, with the seasonally adjusted Markit Business Activity Index, registering 36.1 in September, down from 39.0 in August.
More Developers Fall
Two leading developers in Catalonia, Restaura SL (part of the Restaura Group) and Strength, have been forced to seek court protection from their creditors. Restaura SL, specialises in buying, refurbishing and reselling residential buildings in prime city locations, primarily in Barcelona. It has bought and refurbished some of Barcelona’s landmark historic buildings, for example on the corner of Paseo de Gracia and Gran Via. Many of its clients are international investors.
The company, which has debts of 237 million Euros spread between half a dozen banks and savings banks, is part of the Restaura Group, which has debts of 1.6 billion Euros. According to the Spanish press, industry sources are not ruling out insolvency proceedings for other parts of the Restaura Group, including the parent company.
Construction Continued To Decline In August
Well, surprising as it may seem, according to the latest data from Eurostat, construction output was actually up in Spain in August - by 1.4% over July. This is perhaps not as incredible as it sounds, since total output is the sum total of private construction and civil engineering, and the latter was evidently up considerably in August, partly as a result of the application of the government 20 billion euro stimulus programme. Also, housing activity remains strong while already started buildings are completed. It is from September (perhaps) and especially as we get into 2009 that we should expect to see the full weight of the slowdown. Year on year of course, output was down by 8.4%, although this is still much less than the interannual drop of 15.9% registered in July.
According to the Eurostat data among the Member States for which data was provided for August 2008, construction output rose in nine countries and fell in four. The highest interannual increases were recorded in Romania (+28.5%), Slovakia (+10.4%) and Slovenia (+9.3%), and the largest decreases in Spain (-8.4%) and Portugal (-6.3%). Building construction decreased by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.2% in the EU27, after -3.2% and -1.7% respectively in July. Civil engineering fell by 2.2% in the euro area and by 1.5% in the EU27, after -4.4% and -1.4% respectively in the previous month.
On an month on month basis (over July 2008) construction output rose in six countries and fell in seven. The most significant increases were registered in Germany (+5.5%), Romania (+2.4%) and Spain (+1.4%), and the largest decreases in Portugal (-6.6%), Slovenia (-4.9%) and Bulgaria (-4.7%). Building construction grew by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.1% in the EU27, after 0.0% and -0.8% respectively in July. Civil engineering increased by 1.3% in the euro area but decreased by 0.7% in the EU27, after -0.8% and -0.1% respectively in the previous month.