Economic Policy Journal
June 16, 2010
Spanish banks are borrowing record amounts from the European Central Bank.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
According to FT, Spanish banks borrowed €85.6bn ($105.7bn) from the ECB last month. This was double the amount lent to them before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 and 16.5 per cent of net eurozone loans offered by the central bank.
“If the suspicion that funding markets are being closed down to Spanish banks and corporations is correct, then you can reasonably expect the share of ECB liquidity accounted for by the country to have risen further this month,” said Nick Matthews, European economist at RBS.
Bottom line: This is nothing but a sign of a run on Spanish banks. They can’t get funding in the markets and there is a steady withdrawal of funds from the banks. For all practical purposes, the ECB is supporting the Spanish banking system with life support measures. This means that the ECB will have to drain funds from elsewhere in the system to sterilize this rescue operation. Without sterilization the effort becomes very inflationary, with sterilization the effort distorts the entire EU economy. It’s all destabilizing.
The only reasonable alternative is to allow the Spanish banks to go into bankruptcy and restructure.