The current political scenario in Spain requires us to highlight some points about our country, using as a starting point the Bank of Spain’s interesting analysis called: “The impact of the uncertainty arising from the political tensions in Catalonia”.
Bank of Spain
Financial institutions, companies and households have continued to adjust the debt accumulated in the first half of the year. In the case of non-financial companies and households, their level of debt is increasingly closer to the European average, against a backdrop of greater economic growth and preference for home ownership.
Housing prices have grown 16% since end-2014, according to the Bank of Spain. This is after a decline of 37% in nominal terms (45% in real terms) since their peak at end-2007.
Foreign investors have increased their leadership in terms of how many shares they own in Spanish listed companies. They held 43.1% of the total at end-2016.
The European bail-out of our banking system saved its skin. Now, a decade later, parliament and the Bank of Spain are investigating what happened.
The deadlines for the merger of Bankia and BMN will be accelerated once it has been confirmed there is no interest on the part of other investors. The tie-up is expected to be completed after the summer and will be the starting gun for the next round of sector consolidation.
The Bank of Spain (BoS) wants to modify the recent circular 4/2016 which regulates the method for calculating provisions in the sector. Under the IASB normative, expected to be introduced on a European-wide level on 1 January 2018, provisions will be calculated according to the expected loss in a credit transaction and not according to the loss incurred as up to now.
The Bank of Spain warns that the Spanish economy is progressing against a backdrop of “high uncertainty” at the start of 2017, along the lines of what happened during most of last year, associated to a large extent with geopolitical events.
Everything seems to indicate that the Bank of Spain inspectors, one of the biggest elitist groups in Spain, feared even by the most powerful bankers, are not currently in a good place. The blame lies in the fact that the ECB, or rather the Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), has taken over the function of banking supervision. This has left the inspectors somewhat bereft of functions, workload and influence.
The Bank of Spain’s (BoS) Financial Stability Report usually puts its finger on the problem when it highlights the main risks affecting the banking business. As well as low interest rates and the deterioriation in both Spanish and global economic prospects, the BoS’ latest report points to another factor which has not warranted so much attention: the decline in the prices of financial assets, both in fixed income securities and equities.