Friday, April 27, 2012

Keeping Europeans Calm or perhaps just Ignorant!

One of the most suspicious events of the past few years of economic crisis has for me become evident in watching the activities and results of the Spanish bank Santander. Yesterday saw the results of that operation published, in the USA early yesterday and this morning in Europe. There are lots of bits missing in the version that seems to be most available from Euope. Compare Reuters US edition from here and the AP Bloomberg Businessweek version from Madrid linked here.

On their property portfolio the following is the main highlights provided for Europe:
Banco Santander said Thursday its first-quarter profits fell 24 percent as its provisions for bad loans rose sharply, particularly in its recession-hit home market of Spain. The eurozone's largest bank by market capitalization said its net profit in the January-March period was (EURO)1.6 billion ($2.1 billion). Revenue grew by more than 8 percent to (EURO)11.4 billion.
That income gain, however, was offset by bigger loan losses -- Santander set aside (EURO)3.1 billion in provisions, up 51 percent from the same quarter of 2011.
Banco Santander S.A. said non-performing loans amounted to 3.9 percent of its portfolio, an increase of 0.37 percentage points. In rececession-plagued Spain, the ratio rose 1.18 points to 5.75 percent.
In the USA report things appear far more gruesome and one suspects a fairer view of the absolute disaster ongoing in the Spanish property market can thus be obtained:
Santander (SAN.MC), the euro zone's largest bank, said on Thursday it still had 1 billion euros in property-related losses to come after first quarter profit was hit by rising loan provisions in recessionary Spain and overheated Brazil. Spain has instructed its banks to set aside capital to cover a funding gap of tens of billions of euros stemming from a decade of unsustainable lending to property developers during a real estate boom that went abruptly into reverse in 2008. Santander said it would take the rest of the provisions throughout 2012. With more Spanish householders and businesses defaulting on debt as the economy sinks back into recession, and nearly one in four workers unemployed, investors fear the scale of Spain's problem might ultimately require an international bailout as in Greece, Ireland and Portugal....
S and P (based in the USA) knocked Spain's credit rating down two further notches this morning! Irish Times report from here.

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