1:00 PM Frankfurt – The European indexes extended losses as Spanish bond yield rose to a record high since joining the euro. Italy raised €5.73 billion as yields rise and investor participation falters. UK mortgage approvals rose more-than-estimated in April.
The European indexes traded lower as the fear of contagion took a deeper hold in the region and peripheral nations’ bond yields rose again.
Spanish bond yields rose to a record high since joining the euro and investors sought the safety of the principal as Swiss government sold short term bills of 688.8 million francs at a negative 0.62% interest rate.
Investors have been selling bonds of Portugal, Italy, Spain and Ireland and replacing with short term bonds of Germany, Switzerland and UK. Banks in Spain are also witnessing rising deposit withdrawals that may force Spain to seek international bailouts.
The Spanish banking crisis is taking its toll with the resignation of the Bank of Spain Governor Fernandez Ordonez before the expiry of his term. Ordonez said the government is still not sure how much capital Bankia will need and how the government will finance the bailout.
Ordonez resigned after the governing People’s Party and opposition party and the banking industry inspectors criticized the handling of Bankia crisis in the last one month.
Bank of Spain inspectors called for Ordonez’s resignation in a letter to Prime Minister Rajoy that questioned the nationalization of Bankia days after the central bank approved its proposal to meet new banking rules.
Two days ago Jamie Garcia-Legaz, deputy minister for trade blamed Ordonez for the crisis at Bankia and the leader of Catalan CiU party Duran i Lleida said on May 11 that the governor had not “paid attention to banking supervision.”
Bankia, the fourth largest bank in Spain, had asked for €19 billion bailout from the government on May 25.
In economic news, euro-zone economic confidence and money supply growth fell unexpectedly.
In Paris trading, the CAC-40 Index declined 40.94 or 1.3% to 3,043.68 and in Frankfurt the DAX Index edged lower 67.53 or 1.1% to 6,327.53.
The yield on Spain’s benchmark 10-year bonds climbed nine basis points to 6.50% and the yields on the 10-year Italian bonds rose 12 basis points to 5.99%.
Italian Debt Auction
Italy sold €5.73 billion of bonds at higher borrowing costs.
The Italian Treasury sold €2.34 billion of 10-year debt at an average yield of 6.03% compared to an average yield of 5.84% at the previous auction on April 27. The bid-to-cover ratio fell to 1.4 from 1.48 last month.
The Treasury also sold €3.4 billion of a new five-year security at an average yield of 5.66% compared with 4.86% for a similar-maturity bond sold last month. The bid-to-cover was 1.35.
Euro-zone Economic Confidence Drops
Euro-zone economic confidence dropped to 90.6 in May from the revised 92.9 in April, survey results from European Commission showed on Wednesday.
In another report, euro-zone money supply growth slowed unexpectedly in April, data published by the European Central Bank showed.
M3 grew at a pace of 2.5% from a year ago in April, following a 3.1% rise in March.