Thursday, November 17, 2011

NEW YORK TIMES / REUTERS: "Spain’s Leader Faces Debt Worries"

Spain’s next government was never going to have much time to ease into the job. But the recent steep rise in borrowing costs, initiated by problems in Greece and Italy, will make life even tougher for Mariano Rajoy, whose opposition Popular Party is tipped by polls to win the elections on Nov. 20 by a wide margin.

One of Spain’s strong points is that its debt looks set to end the year at 68 percent of gross domestic product. That is lower than the European Union average and far below the 120 percent Italy labors under. The snag is that spiraling costs could eventually make the debts unsustainable. At current rates of 6 percent to borrow money for seven years, Spain would need to run a primary fiscal surplus of 1.8 percent just to keep its debt-to-G.D.P. ratio stable in the long run, according to Reuters Breakingviews calculations. That is well above the primary deficit of 3.5 percent that the European Commission predicts next year for Spain.