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
It is that time of the year again – our semi-annual funding drive begins today. Give us a little hand in offsetting the costs of running this blog, as advertising revenue alone is insufficient. You can help us reach our modest funding goal by donating either via paypal or bitcoin. Those of you who have made a ton of money based on some of the things we have said in these pages (we actually made a few good calls lately!), please feel free to up your donations accordingly (we are sorry if you have followed one of our bad calls. This is of course your own fault). Other than that, we can only repeat that donations to this site are apt to secure many benefits. These range from sound sleep, to children including you in their songs, to the potential of obtaining privileges in the afterlife (the latter cannot be guaranteed, but it seems highly likely). As always, we are greatly honored by your readership and hope that our special mixture of entertainment and education is adding a little value to your life!
Bitcoin address: 1DRkVzUmkGaz9xAP81us86zzxh5VMEhNke
One Response to “Spain – Unemployment and NPLs Continue to Soar”
Most read in the last 20 days:
- A Striking Chart
The Economy and the Stock Market As long time readers know, we are always paying close attention to the manufacturing sector, which is far more important to the US economy than is generally believed. In terms of gross output it is the largest sector of the economy, and it should of course be obvious that saving, investment and production are the only ways to create wealth. What's left of the Brooklyn Domino Sugar Refinery. Photo credit: Paul Raphaelson Contrary...
- Trump and Putin Narrowly Escape Assassination Attempt
The Gloves are Coming Off First a little bit of recent history. Readers are probably aware that some questions about the occasionally malfunctioning Deep State android... no, wait, we'll start again. Questions have recently been raised about the health of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by various “alt-right” tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists, such as this one. The monsters are normally hiding under Hillary's bed, but lately they have come out into the open...
- US Economy - Curious Pattern in ISM Readings
Head Fake Theory Confirmed? This is a brief update on our last overview of economic data. Although we briefly discussed employment as well, the overview was as usual mainly focused on manufacturing, which is the largest sector of the economy by gross output. Pepsi factory in Baltimore, 1956 Photo via pinterest.com Readers may recall that we have pointed out for some time that there was quite a large gap between the data reported in regional Fed manufacturing...
- A Convocation of Interventionists, Part 2
Pleas for More Deficit Spending We continue with our Jackson Hole post mortem – including remarks that were made by economists and monetary bureaucrats shortly before and after the pow-wow and seem to be connected to the discussions there. Assembled central planners (we're not sure if this picture was taken at the conference, but most of the people in it were there). Photo credit: Getty Images We should preface the following with a Mises quote, as the...
- Why the Fed Destroyed the Market Economy
What Have You Done for Me Lately? Swing voters are a fickle bunch. One election they vote Democrat. The next they vote Republican. For they have no particular ideology or political philosophy to base their judgment upon. The primacy of the wallet. They don’t give a rip about questions of small government or big government. Nor do they have any druthers about the welfare or warfare state. In effect, they really don’t care. What’s important to the...
- How is Real Wealth Created?
An Abrupt Drop Let’s turn back to our regular beat: the U.S. economy and its capital markets. We’ve been warning that the Fed would never make any substantial increase to interest rates. Not willingly, at least. Groping in the dark, Yellen-style Each time Fed chief Janet Yellen opens her mouth, out comes a hint that more rate hikes might be coming. But each time, it turns out that the economy is not as robust as she had believed... and that a rate hike isn’t...
- Janet Yellen’s Shame
Playing Politics In honest capitalism, you do what you can to get other people to voluntarily give you money. This usually involves providing goods or services they think are worth the price. You may get a little wild and crazy from time to time, but you are always called to order by your customers. In the market economy, consumers reign supreme. There is no such thing as a “lost” vote in the marketplace; every penny spent affects production. Mises noted: “Consumers...
- Get Ready for a New Crisis – in Corporate Debt
Imposter Dollar OUZILLY, France – We’re going back to basics here at the Diary. We’re getting everyone on the same page... learning together... connecting the dots... trying to figure out what is going on. The new three dollar bill issued by the Apprehensive States of America. We made a breakthrough when we identified the source of so many of today’s bizarre and grotesque trends. It’s the money – the new post-1971 dollar. This new dollar is green. You...
- A Convocation of Interventionists – Part 1
Modern Economics - It's All About Central Planning We are hereby delivering a somewhat belated comment on the meeting of monetary central planners and their courtier economists at Jackson Hole. Luckily timing is not really an issue in this context. Central bank headquarters: the Fed's Eccles building, the ECB's hideously expensive new tower in Frankfurt, and the BOJ's Tokyo HQ (judging from the people in the foreground, it may be a source of noxious fumes). When...
- Hanjin Marooning in San Pedro Bay
Global Trade Reversal Expansions and contractions in global trade have played out over long secular trends for thousands of years. The Silk Road, for example, was established by the Han Dynasty of China in 130 BC, and allowed for continuous trade between East and West for nearly 1,600 years. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was also a conduit for culture and knowledge among its network of civilizations. A map of the main ancient Silk Road - click to...
- The Economy, the Stock Market and the Fed
John Hussman on Recent Developments We always look forward to John Hussman's weekly missive on the markets. Some people say that he is a “permabear”, but we don't think that is a fair characterization. He is rightly wary of the stock market's historically extremely high valuation and the loose monetary policy driving the surge in asset prices. The S&P 500 Index and the NYSE advance-decline line. Most market internals weakened steadily until early February 2016, but...
- John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory Eighty Years Later
The “Scientific” Fig Leaf for Statism and Interventionism To the economic and political detriment of the Western world and those economies beyond which have adopted its precepts, 2016 marks the eightieth anniversary of the publication of one of, if not, the most influential economics books ever penned, John Maynard Keynes’ The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. The mere fact that the book is lauded by TIME magazine on the cover should give everyone...