World Bulletin / News Desk
Spain is negotiating with the euro zone over conditions for international aid to bring down its borrowing costs though the country has not made a final decision to request a bailout, three sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters news agency on Thursday.
The favoured option being discussed is that the existing European rescue fund, the EFSF, would purchase Spanish government bonds at primary auctions while the European Central Bank would intervene in the secondary market to lower yields, the sources said.
No specific figure for aid has been discussed in the talks, which started several weeks ago, one of the sources said.
Other senior euro zone sources were more cautious, one saying nothing clear-cut had emerged on aid for Spain, while a fifth said no talks were going on at all.
Spain's prime minister's office declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the economy ministry said there was no change in the Spanish position, which is that it would wait until the next meeting of the governing council of the ECB on Sept. 6, hoping for details on how the ECB plans to intervene, before deciding on any move.
ECB President Mario Draghi has said the central bank could intervene to lower painfully high yields but only if the country concerned asked for similar help from the bloc's rescue fund first.
The three sources who spoke with Reuters on Thursday said the negotiations were focusing on conditions attached to the aid, which will be included in a memorandum of understanding.
While there is a political consensus that the conditions should be limited to what is already included in EU recommendations to Spain, which has pushed through a raft of painful austerity measures, two of the sources said euro zone countries were insisting on setting up a tougher schedule of monitoring.
Separately, two of the sources said Spain's euro zone partners and the European Commission have dashed its hopes of getting an emergency liquidity line for its banks before the first tranche of up to 100 billion euros of aid is disbursed in the autumn.
Spanish authorities had hoped to receive up to 30 billion euros in August to start recapitalising state-rescued banks, such as Bankia, CatalunyaCaixa and NovaGalicia.
Ecuador, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela, Belize, Cuba, Cyprus, Greece, Jamaica and Ukraine are all on the verge of a default, according to Moody's ratings.
A World Trade Organisation pact to ease worldwide customs rules collapsed late on Thursday over India's demands for concessions on agricultural stockpiling.
India's new nationalist government has insisted that a permanent agreement on its subsidised food stockpiling must be in place at the same time as the trade facilitation deal
Chemicals firm LyondellBasell has emerged as the mystery American buyer of Kurdish crude oil this year, but said it will not be buying any more
Some EU member states remain nervous about the impact on their own fragile economies. The sanctions deal was agreed only after initial proposals were narrowed.
Bankers in Singapore say Russians looking for a new Cyprus have come to the wrong place.
The default could get much messier and take longer to clear up if creditors force an "acceleration" for early payment on their bonds.
The ban came a day after the European Union and United States imposed their first sanctions aimed at hitting broad sectors of the Russian economy
Russia called new U.S. sanctions "destructive and short-sighted"
While the default will obviously hurt the economy, it will not be as severe as in 2001, economists say
The Czechs, who supported the action, have been against sweeping sanctions, worried about trade relations with Russia
The trade program has been criticized for disproportionately benefiting certain industries and a handful of countries, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola.
The United Kalavrvta tanker, carrying some 1 million barrels of crude worth about $100 million, arrived off the coast of Texas on Saturday but has yet to unload its disputed cargo.
The uncertainty comes at a bad time for the 18 countries in the euro zone, whose economy is already in the doldrums.
"Kalashnikov regrets that consumers are faced with such a problem," said spokeswoman Yekaterina Boni.
Cairo and Khartoum had earlier accepted a proposal by Addis Ababa to hold the talks in Sudan in the third week of August.