A New High in Spain's Unemployment Rate
Youth unemployment in Spain now exceeds 55%. This is an explosive situation and that may be putting it mildly. What are the idle young people that see no future for themselves going to do? Will they just sit still and meekly collect whatever paltry handouts the insolvent Spanish government can still afford to give them? We somehow doubt it. We expect unrest and demonstrations in Spain to escalate further this year.
We wonder what will happen once it turns out that the government will miss its deficit targets by what is likely to be a huge margin. The EU with its 'fiscal pact' rules will have to turn the thumb-screws even further when that happens, and it is actually doubtful that the plan to let the ECB finance Spain's government by starting the OMT program will go as smoothly as the markets apparently expect. After all, Spain will first have to knuckle under and adhere to an IMF and ESM imposed new and presumably even more severe austerity scheme. Meanwhile the government of prime minister Rajoy is already in all sorts of trouble over burgeoning corruption allegations as Mish recently pointed out.
“Spain's unemployment rate soared to its highest level since measurements began in the 1970s as a prolonged recession and deep spending cuts left almost 6 million people out of work at the end of last year.
Spain's unemployment rate rose to 26 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012, or 5.97 million people, the National Statistics Institute said on Thursday, up from 25 percent in the previous quarter and more than double the European Union average.
"We haven't seen the bottom yet and employment will continue falling in the first quarter," said Citigroup strategist Jose Luis Martinez. Spain sank into its second recession since 2009 at the end of 2011 after a burst housing bubble left millions of low-skilled laborers out of work and sliding private and business sentiment gutted consumer spending and imports.
Efforts by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's government to control one of the euro zone's largest deficits through billions of euros of spending cuts and tax hikes have fueled general malaise, further hampering demand. When Rajoy took office in late 2011 there were 5.27 million jobless in Spain.
The economic downturn put an average of 1,900 out of work every day through 2012 and with the recession expected to last at least until the end of 2013, net job creation is unlikely this year. Joblessness has been particularly acute for Spain's youth, with 60 percent of people under the age of 25 unemployed in the fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the economy shrank at its fastest pace since the recession began, the Bank of Spain said on Wednesday, dragged down by a steep drop in private consumption due in part to a September VAT hike and public wage cuts.”
Wage cuts would pose no problem if not for the inflationary policy of the ECB, which keeps prices high. It goes without saying that raising taxes in the face of an economic depression is an extremely bad idea. However, this is how 'austerity' generally works in euro-land. The burden of government is not reduced at all, instead it is increased even further. It is apparently fine for the European political class when the private sector shrinks, just as long as Leviathan's size remains unchanged. That this cannot possibly work out seems not to have occurred to anyone yet.
Unemployment in Spain is now at the highest level since records began in the early 1970s and exceeds even the unemployment rate of depression-wracked Greece:
Euro area unemployment rates compared: Spain holds a sad record – click for better resolution.
NPLs Continue to Rise
Non-performing loans at Spain's banks also continue to climb. In November, they were hitting yet another new record high at 11.38% of all outstanding loans. However, recent reports from individual banks suggest that the total will continue to swell when the December data are released. Even the 'better' banks are seeing their delinquent loans jump:
“Rising bad loans at Bankinter (BKT.MC) and Sabadell (SABE.MC) point to more pain for Spanish banks as they near the end of a deep clean of rotten property assets that hammered profits last year. Though Sabadell and Bankinter are among Spain's healthier lenders which did not need rescue funds from Europe, both have been hit by big writedowns on soured real estate assets in the wake of the country's property market crash.
The drive to mark down toxic assets pushed Spain to take around 40 billion euros ($53 billion) in aid from Europe in 2012 for banks in need of capital and unable to cope. Most banks in Spain will take the last hit from property-related write-downs in fourth-quarter 2012 results. But a deep recession is still hurting their loan books.
Mid-sized Bankinter warned on Thursday its bad loans could hit 5 percent of total loans this year, up from 4.28 percent at the end of 2012, given Spain's weak economy and rising unemployment, even though January had been a good month.
"If the employment data continues to be like what we saw (on Thursday), we cannot be optimistic," said Maria Dolores Dancausa, chief executive of Bankinter.
Barcelona-based Sabadell, meanwhile, said its bad loan ratio jumped to 9.33 percent of total loans at the end of December from 8.46 percent in September, largely because of the integration of its 2011 purchase of stricken savings bank CAM. "It's a level implying a fourth-quarter rise … far above our expectations," said Nuria Alvarez, analyst at Madrid broker Renta4. She added the bad loan ratio was an area to watch at Sabadell even though the lender has a state-backed scheme in place to protect it against future losses after it bought CAM.”
As a reminder, here is what the long term chart of Spain's NPLs looks like (data until November 2012):
Spain's NPLs and the unemployment rate as of November. Unemployment is already at a new high, NPLs are set to follow – click for better resolution.
Evidently, Spain is in a severe depression. It seems to us that the financial markets are currently way too sanguine about the risks. Ultimately all they are hanging their hat on is a promise by Mario Draghi that he will print more money. We doubt that will be enough.
Charts by: Eurostat, Reuters
Dear Readers! We are happy to report that we have reached our turn-of-the-year funding goal and want to extend a special thank you to all of you who have chipped in. We are very grateful for your support! As a general remark, according to usually well informed circles, exercising the donation button in between funding drives is definitely legal and highly appreciated as well.
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
One Response to “Spain – Unemployment and NPLs Continue to Soar”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- Fresh Mainstream Nonsense on Gold Demand
They Will Never Get It... We and many others have made a valiant effort over the years to explain what actually moves the gold market (as examples see e.g. our article “Misconceptions About Gold”, or Robert Blumen's excellent essay “Misunderstanding Gold Demand”). Sometimes it is a bit frustrating when we realize it has probably all been for naught. Gold wants to know what it has done now... Photo credit: Ajay Verma / Reuters This was brought home to...
- Switzerland About to Vote on “Free Lunch” for Everyone
Will the Swiss Guarantee CHF 75,000 for Every Family? In early June the Swiss will be called upon to make a historic decision. Switzerland is the first country worldwide to put the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income to a vote and the outcome of this referendum will set a strong precedent and establish a landmark in the evolution of this debate. The Swiss Basic Income Initiative in a demonstration in front of parliament. As we have previously reported (see “Swiss...
- Drowning the Fir
Presidential Duties Our editor recently stumbled upon an image in one of the more obscure corners of the intertubes which we felt we had to share with our readers. It provides us with a nice metaphor for the meaningfulness of government activity. First, here is a look at the picture – just quietly contemplate it for while and let it work its magic on you: Yes, these two gentlemen are actually watering a tree in the middle of a downpour... Photo via...
- Heretical Thoughts and Doing the Unthinkable
Heresy! NORMANDY, France – The Dow rose 222 points on Tuesday – or just over 1%. But we agree with hedge-fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller: This is not a good time to be a U.S. stock market bull. Legendary former hedge fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller at the Ira Sohn conference – not an optimist at present, to put it mildly. Photo credit: David A. Grogan / CNBC Speaking at an investment conference in New York last week, George Soros’ former partner...
- How the Deep State’s Cronies Steal From You
Expanding in Ireland DUNMORE EAST, Ireland – We came down the coast from Dublin to check on our new office building. For this visit, we wanted to stay somewhere different than we normally do. So we chose a small hotel on the coast, called the Strand Inn. Irish landscape with alien landing pads. Even the guys from Rigel II have heard about Ireland's corporate tax rate. Photo credit: Tourism Ireland It is an excellent place for seafood and soda bread on a...
- How Elon Musk Helps Fools to Part Ways with Their Money
Tesla Goes Fishing Tesla Motors is up to something remarkable. But what it is, exactly, is unclear. According to the Tesla Motors website, the company’s mission is: to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport. Tesla Model 3: the company’s first “mass market” entry so to speak, which is supposed to help the world to reach the nirvana of “sustainable” transport. On the side, it is helping a number of Wall Street firms to increase their...
- The Japanese Popsicle Affair
Policy-Induced Contrition in Japan As we keep saying, there really is no point in trying to make people richer by making them poorer – which is what Shinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda have been trying to do for the past several years. Not surprisingly, they have so to speak only succeeded in achieving the second part of the equation: they have certainly managed to impoverish their fellow Japanese citizens. Shinzo Abe and Haruhiko Kuroda, professional yen assassins Photo credit:...
- Kuroda-San in the Mouth of Madness
Deluded Central Planners Zerohedge recently reported on an interview given by Lithuanian ECB council member Vitas Vasiliauskas, which demonstrates how utterly deluded the central planners in the so-called “capitalist” economies of the West have become. His statements are nothing short of bizarre (“we are magic guys!”) – although he is of course correct when he states that a central bank can never “run out of ammunition”. BoJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda Photo credit:...
- Revolution at the Ranch
Alarming News BALTIMORE, Maryland – An alarming email came on Tuesday from our ranch in Argentina: “Bad things going on… We thought we had the originarios problem settled. Not at all. They just invaded the ranch.” Originarios on the march... Photo credit: cta.org.ar To bring new readers fully into the picture, Northwest Argentina, where we have our ranch, has a revolution going on. Some of the indigenous people – that is, people with Native...
- The Long-Buried Secret of Napoleon Bonaparte
Family Secrets DUBLIN – The smart money is getting out while the gettin’ is still good. That’s the message we get from reading the recent headlines. Here’s the Financial Times: Redemptions from stock funds have hit nearly $90 billion this year as portfolio managers and hedge funds struggle to navigate a market that no longer seems driven by radical central bank policy. S&P 500 Index: causing navigational problems - click to...
- Are Investors Idiots?
Black-and-Blue Crash Alert Flag Let us begin the week “on message.” The Diary is about money. Today, we’ll stick to the subject. Old friend Mark Hulbert has done some research on the likelihood of a crash in the stock market. Ye olde tattered Crash Alert flag... should it be unfurled again? Image by fmh Writing in Barron’s, he points out that the risk - or, more properly, the incidence - of crashes, historically, has been very...
- Is the Economy a Machine?
A Science Goes Astray Human beings have a strong tendency to look for patterns. The natural sciences have shown that the universe is governed by laws, the effects of which are observable and measurable in an objective manner. Mostly, anyway — there is, after all, the interesting fact that observers are influencing measurements at the quantum level by the act of observation. (For our lives in the “macro” world, however, this is not relevant. An engineer does not need to take...