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Back to El camino del exceso

Rodolfo G. Campos and Gonzalo Gómez Bengoechea, Professors, IESE, University of Navarra

The path of excess

Sun, 27 Jun 2010 08:29:44 +0000 Published in ABC (Madrid)

Spain must borrow 24 billion euros in July. Almost three times more than Greece needed to borrow last May. The Greek government found that the markets were not willing to lend it the 8.5 billion euros it needed to meet its debt maturities. This was the reason behind the "intervention" of the Greek Economics by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU). Is it possible that Spain is now going down the same path as Greece did then?

If we measure our upcoming debt maturities as a percentage of GDP, our status is better than Greece's in May: they account for 2.4% of our GDP, compared to 3.6% in the Greek case.

The problem for Spain is the variable core topic in this equation: GDP. Just as when a person acquires a bank credit , those who acquire public debt estimate the creditor's repayment capacity. And in the case of a country, they do so mainly through the expected evolution of GDP.

And this is where our main weakness lies. The lack of concreteness and the absence of credible measures to carry out the already famous "structural reforms" ( work market, financial sector, etc...) reduces the growth potential of our Economics and raises the interest we have to pay for the money we borrow. A problem that could lead to an unstoppable spiral of deficit and debt, with the pernicious effects already seen in Greece.