Spanish PM considers bailout options

Spain's implied cost of borrowing fell below 7% on Friday as Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was considering bailout options.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (left) and Mariano Rajoy have vowed to work together to solve the debt crisis
Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (left) and Mariano Rajoy have vowed to work together to solve the debt crisis

Spain's prime minister has said he will only consider asking for financial aid for his country once the European Central Bank (ECB) has expanded its crisis-fighting plans for buying government bonds.

This is the closest Mariano Rajoy has come to admitting he is considering a bailout after months of denials.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Rajoy urged Europe's leaders and the ECB to speed up the introduction of key reforms to fight the debt crisis and strengthen the struggling banking sector.

"I haven't made a decision [on a bailout] yet,'' Rajoy said after a cabinet meeting. "I want to know what the unconventional measures proposed by the ECB are. We do not know what is being proposed."

"I will do what I always do, act in the best interest of Spaniards," he said after calling for a crisis meeting of the region's finance chiefs.

Rajoy's comments came a day after the ECB warned it would only help lower a country's borrowing costs if that country's government applied for rescue aid from the rescue funds set up by the 17 countries that use the euro.

Spain borrowing costs have risen sharply for all bond types in recent months as the uncertainty over whether the country can afford to contain the problems in its banking sector and indebted regional governments has continued unabated.

The interest rate, or yield, on Spain's benchmark 10-year bond was at 6.82 per cent just after Rajoy spoke - close to the seven per cent level, which many market-watchers consider unsustainable in the long term.

Such rates could likely push Spain to seek a bailout, deepening Europe's financial woes and sending repercussions to economies beyond the continent.

Greece, Portugal and Ireland all had to seek international bailouts when their borrowing costs stayed above 7%.

In June, Spain requested 100bn euros of loans from the EFSF bailout fund to help support its banks, which are struggling with bad debts from loans made in the property sector.

However, speculation had increased in recent weeks that the government would have to request a full financial rescue.

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roderick degiorgio
Ive been saying. The leading economies should lead the way by printing money to pay off all their debts and to get economies moving again.There will be no alternative.They have to recognise the framework of AUSTERITY is not the way to go
Yanika Chetcuti
So even the Spaniards are borrowing at a lower rate than Malita's rate of return! Some achievement, eh for Malita!

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