World Bulletin / News Desk
Spain's short-term borrowing costs rose to their highest level since 1997 in a debt sale on Tuesday as investors worried the country will soon be forced to ask for international aid.
The euro zone's fourth-largest economy has become the focus of the regional debt crisis, with the country struggling to overcome recession and a costly banking sector restructure.
Yields on Spanish 10-year bonds have been trading above 7 percent, a level seen as too pricey for shaky public finances in the medium term by creating a self-full filling spiral like ones that have forced other euro governments to seek help.
The rise in Spain's longer-term interest rates put the sale of 3 billion euros ($3.77 billion) of bills in the spotlight ahead of a bond auction on Thursday.
There was good demand and the government met its target amount but the yield on the 18-month paper was the highest since November while the 12-month bill sold with the highest rate since before the birth of the euro.
"The yields are over 5 percent in both lines which is back at the levels we saw in November 2011 when the market was in huge distress and the ECB was forced to intervene," Credit Agricole rate strategist Peter Chatwell said.
Borrowing costs fell sharply after the European Central Bank flooded the market with around 1 trillion euros in cheap credit through two long-term refinancing operations (LTROs), in December and February, but they have since leapt back up.
Spain is hoping the ECB will ride to its rescue again. Officials have repeatedly said the central bank needs to take action to stop the euro zone debt crisis from getting worse.
On Tuesday, the Spanish Treasury sold 2.4 billion euros of the 12-month T-bill at an average yield of 5.074 percent, compared with 2.985 percent at the last auction in May.
It sold 639 million euros of 18-month paper at an average yield of 5.107 percent after 3.302 percent last month.
Spain will face a bigger test in financial markets on Thursday when it auctions bonds maturing April 30, 2014, July 30, 2015 and July 30, 2017.
Spain's economy is under heavy pressure and earlier this month asked Europe for up to 100 billion euros to recapitalise its banking sector, suffering from a property market crash and a rise in bad debts.
The government was pleased to have avoided asking for a full-scale sovereign bailout such as the ones taken by Ireland, Greece and Portugal. But economists say the rise in borrowing costs and the worsening economic outlook may soon force it to seek fresh aid.
Spain entered its second recession since 2009 in the first quarter, and while it has barely grown at all since the property bubble burst in early 2009, most economists expect the economy to continue to shrink into next year at least.
Unemployment is over 24 percent, more than half all young Spaniards are out of work and deep spending cuts to tame one of the euro zone's largest public deficits are expected to prolong the downturn as investment plummets.
Under the new law, the regions established after the 1992-95 Bosnian war will now be allowed to share some 100 million marka between them, in proportion to their shareholdings
The tax cuts will add a fresh burden to Italy's already strained public finances
Soros said an independent currency would be "very inefficient and potentially dangerous".
Doctors, teachers and school guards joined the 24-hour strike and planned marches to parliament, the focal point of anti-austerity protests
10.14 billion yuan ($1.65 billion) in "dirty money" and property was recovered and 762 corruption suspects were captured at home or abroad last year, the China Daily said
Federal investigators are reviewing information about how GM handled reports of problems with ignition switches that first came to light 10 years ago
Allegations of possible manipulation of the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange market have so far centered on major banks.
The decision will remove duties on agricultural products, processed foods, textiles and industrial goods, saving Ukrainian businesses 487 million euros a year.
Chrystalla Georghadji takes up her post on April 11, after outgoing governor Panicos Demetriades works out his notice.
The wording on energy dependency was not in an earlier version of the document circulated before Russian forces seized Crimea
India, with the increases already made in the January-March loading plans from Iran, has to cut its purchases of the crude
Eurozone finance ministers give green light to release 150 million euros for the Greek Cypriot administration.
"Sugar consumption that dated back to the BC epoch found its way into Ethiopian households only lately; people had to be convinced," Zemedkun Tekle, communications director at the state-run Ethiopian Sugar Corporation, said.
The agreement is the first Canada has concluded with a nation from Asia, a fast-growing part of the world that Ottawa is deliberately targeting.
While Europe lacks immediate alternatives to replace Russian supplies, long-term efforts are in place to reduce Moscow's dominance in the sector. Russia pushes on with gas pipeline despite EU delay