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from Breakingviews:

BBVA is bank of choice for Spanish bulls

By George Hay

(The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own)

BBVA  is the bank of choice for Spanish bulls. Sightings of that most Iberian of beasts are few and far between. But Spain's second-largest lender looks best for anyone believing that the country's economy is on the eve of a recovery. 

Spain remains troubled. Real house prices are likely to fall further, and unemployment has hit an all-time high of 27 percent. Real GDP will shrink 1.6 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Yet the IMF also reckons the economy will grow 0.7 percent next year. Yields on Spain's 10-year bonds have fallen from 7.2 percent to 4.3 percent since the beginning of August. 

BBVA is currently dealing with the maelstrom better than its larger rival Santander. Both lenders' net interest income - the difference between funding costs and asset earnings - suffered in the quarter, but unequally. BBVA managed to eke out minimal growth, while Santander's fell 14 percent.

from Breakingviews:

Qatar gives SocGen an honourable exit from Egypt

By Una Galani

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Qatar has given Societe Generale an honorable exit from Egypt. State-backed Qatar National Bank will buy the French bank’s 77 percent stake in its Egyptian unit, National Societe Generale Bank (NSGB), through a mandatory tender offer valuing the whole at $2.6 billion. The valuation of 2 times book value is lower than pre-revolution multiples, and SocGen will have to carry some currency risk. But with few-sizeable buyers willing to live with Arab spring volatility, it makes sense for SocGen to shrink while it can.

from Breakingviews:

HSBC needs to put numbers on China ambition

By Peter Thal Larsen

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

HSBC’s global strategy overhaul has reached China: the emerging market lender is in talks about offloading its 16 percent stake in Ping An, the Chinese insurer. Chief executive Stuart Gulliver could go further, by putting some numbers on his ambitions for the bank’s other Chinese assets – particularly its even-larger shareholding in Bank of Communications.

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