Via Mark J. Grant, author of Out of the Box,
Spain: Shall Bitterly Begin His Fearful Date
The data out from Spain this morning should be one serious wake-up call for anyone exposed to Europe. The fourth largest economy in the Eurozone is getting hammered and for anyone that has doubted that they will need a full scale bailout; think again. The numbers are a disaster. Deposits at the Spanish banks dropped by a record amount in July, -$93 billion which is a decline of -4.7% in just one month. On a year-over-year basis the decline in deposits is 12.0% but the trend in loss of deposits is escalating rapidly. The total banking deposits in Spain are $1.51 trillion we are told and the loss in deposits is 56.4% on an annualized basis which, if this trend continues, would effectively wipe out the capital of each and every bank in Spain. With an economy that has shrunk to $1.3 trillion the drop in bank deposits represents a 6.6% loss of capital to support the economy. This is not a leak, as reported by some in the Press, but a bank run. Spain also reported out for June bad loans at 9.4% ($205.45 billion) which is the highest on record as reported but it is also a number which may not be believed!
Beginning in 2000 the Spanish banks, with full support from the government of Spain, began what is called “dynamic provisioning.” Please allow me to explain this arcane phrase to you in simple English; it means the official allowance of “cooking the books;” it does not mean anything else regardless of what you may see bandied about in the Press. It means that losses and reserves can be shifted and modified from one quarter to the next and it also means that categories, such a Real Estate losses or provisions, may be falsified by some bank or by the government of Spain to show what they wish to show or hide what they wish to hide. This is why I have stated and re-stated so many times that the financials of the Spanish banks are garbage or worse and cannot be trusted.
In 2009 the Bank of Spain’s Director of Financial Stability wrote the following in a paper published by the World Bank.
“Dynamic loan loss provisions can help deal with the procyclicality in banking. Their anticyclical nature enhances the resilience of both individual banks and the banking system as a whole. While there is no guarantee that they will be enough to cope with all of the credit losses of a downturn, dynamic provisions have proved useful in Spain during the current financial crisis.”
Several years ago Spain, along with the rest of the European Union, adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards but the adoption did not mean implementation. The EU from 2000 to today has allowed Spain to utilize their own accounting rules, this “dynamic provision” financial scam and so the books for all of the Spanish banks have been inaccurate, have been a lie, have been a fraud for the last twelve years. This is strong language and I am quite aware of it but it is accurate language and categorizes what Spain and its banks have done. Consequently even when you read today’s numbers and when you try to put them in perspective one can only guess because it is obvious that the data is purposefully minimized in favor of the government and of the banks so that investors can be fooled by the make believe figures.
First let me state that it is quite impossible to get any kind of accurate figures for any and all of the Spanish banks. You can look at the actual Real Estate prices in the Spanish market and realize that the Spanish banks are overvaluing their holdings by about 40% and there is a starting point for defining the seriousness of the problem. One can then guess, and it is a guess but a rational one, that not only are the Real Estate provisions wrong and inadequate but that the reserves are inadequate, that the losses are far greater than reported and that the scam of utilizing “dynamic provisioning” is applicable to all of the Spanish bank loans which, if close to reality, would mean that all of the banks in Spain are insolvent. This would mean bankrupt and only being kept alive by falsified numbers. This is not the end of the problem however and it is only a small leap to a far worse situation.
If the government of Spain is allowing this “dynamic provisioning” for their banks; what makes you think that they are not using the exact same scheme for their national data? If Spain is allowing the numbers for their banks to be cooked then I would assert that they are following the same plan with the country’s numbers so that nothing about the Spanish banks or the Spanish GDP, debt to GDP and the size of their economy is even remotely believable. I would state that we know almost nothing that is real about Spain or her banks and that Spain is a fairy tale wrapped in deceit and bound in giant lies to preserve the country in her state of disgrace.
A Vastly Increased Risk
One year ago the Central Bank of Spain was borrowing $71.53 billion from the European Central Bank. In the last figures available, July, the Central Bank of Spain was borrowing $530.8 billion (an increase of 86.5%) from the ECB either directly or through the Target2 funding which impacts the Bundesbank and Germany quite directly. In other words Germany is now at a huge risk which is not just their 22% ownership of the ECB but a direct and full risk of impairment or default by Spain in the Target2 funding provided by the Bundesbank.
SPAIN’S SOVEREIGN OBLIGATIONS
Sovereign Debt $763 Billion
ECB/Target2 Debt $530.8 Billion
Regional Debt $175.7 Billion
Spain’s Bank Gtd. Debt $153 Billion
Total Direct Debt of Spain $1,622.50 Billion
Spanish GDP (If Believed) $1,331.00 Billion
Spanish Direct Debt to GDP Ratio 121.90%**
**This does not include Spain’s obligations to the EU or the ECB nor does it include corporate debt that has been guaranteed by Spain which would raise the debt to GDP ratio considerably.
Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars
Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
With this night's revels, and expire the term
-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet