MADRID (AP) — Spain's ability to keep a lid on its finances without the help of an international bailout was thrown further into doubt Monday when its borrowing costs smashed through the level at which Greece Portugal and Ireland sought assistance and wiped out any rally from the pro-bailout election victory in Athens.
The interest rate on Spain's 10-year bonds — an indicator of market confidence in how well a country can pay down its debt — stood at 7.06 percent. That marked a rise of nearly 19 basis points for the day, in which the yield had initially fallen. Stocks were down 1.4 points, according to financial data provider FactSet.
The Greek results seemed to provide a respite as trading began. Fears of an abrupt Greek exit seemed to ease, and with them concerns that contagion from what could have been a definitive new chapter of the euro crisis would spread to Spain.
Spain has already requested a bailout for its banking sector, saddled with billions in toxic assets after the implosion of a real estate bubble. Just how much it will tap from a 100 billion euro fund will be announced this week after two independent auditors present the results of tests they are carrying out.
The real fear was that Spain would need a full-blown bailout — enough money to keep the government running, as is the case in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The problem is that Spain's €1.1 trillion economy is bigger than those of the other three altogether.
Spain's public finances are bearing the twin strains of recession, with a 24.4 percent jobless rate and shrinking GDP, and economy-draining austerity measured ordered to try to get the deficit down to EU-mandated levels.