Fiona's Feed
Jun 24, 2014
via Breakingviews

Iraq troubles are unlikely to bring new oil crisis

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The continued violence in Iraq looks like a harbinger of a sharp cutback from the world’s seventh-largest oil producer. But the bulk of Iraq’s production is still secure. Even though the Middle East has clearly become less stable, it will still take a cascade of problems to create a big oil price shock.

Jun 19, 2014
via Breakingviews

Spexit comes two years late

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

The unthinkable has happened. Spain stayed in the euro but exited the World Cup in the early group stages. The negative correlation with the economy is striking. Spain’s national side has modernised less rapidly than its economic policy in recent years.

Jun 13, 2014
via Breakingviews

Spanish government oddly passive on Catalonia risk

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Investors in Spanish debt don’t seem to worry much about the tension in Catalonia. Independence is a distant possibility, and yields on the country’s 10-year bonds, at 2.7 percent, are now below the UK’s. But the insouciance of the Spanish government on the matter is harder to fathom. The crisis won’t simply go away if Madrid does nothing.

May 30, 2014
via Breakingviews

Spanish soccer needs a financial bootcamp

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Spanish football needs a financial bootcamp. Spain enter next month’s World Cup as defending titleholders and Real Madrid just beat their cross-town rivals Atletico to become European champions. Yet the domestic game is far less robust.

Feb 21, 2014
via Breakingviews

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of BBVA, recently said that banks needed to take on Amazon and Google or die. He aims to be one of the survivors. The 51 billion euro ($70 billion) Spanish bank has bought U.S.-based mobile banking technology startup Simple for $117 million. It may be a small deal, but it comes with potentially big implications for the industry.

Feb 21, 2014
via Breakingviews

Spain’s BBVA keeps banking’s tech enemies close

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Francisco Gonzalez, chairman of BBVA, recently said that banks needed to take on Amazon and Google or die. He aims to be one of the survivors. The 51 billion euro ($70 billion) Spanish bank has bought U.S.-based mobile banking technology startup Simple for $117 million. It may be a small deal, but it comes with potentially big implications for the industry.

Dec 17, 2013
via Breakingviews

Shale energy deficit will hit Europe hard

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Will the shale boom ever reach Europe’s shores?  It has had a remarkable impact in the U.S. Thanks to fracking, American chemicals and steel companies pay two-thirds less than European counterparts for natural gas, according to Eni, the Italian oil and gas firm. They pay half the cost for electricity. The International Energy Agency expects U.S. manufacturers’ share of global energy-intensive exports to grow slightly over the next two decades on the back of cheap energy, against a 10 percent decline in Europe. Thanks in part to the lower energy prices, the Boston Consulting Group reckons the U.S. will create up to 5 million factory and services jobs by 2020.

Oct 17, 2013
via Breakingviews

BBVA makes painful withdrawal from Chinese bank

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

BBVA is learning the Chinese art of saving face. The Spanish lender has attributed its sale of a 5 percent stake in China’s CITIC Bank to new Basel capital rules. Yet while the deal will add 2.4 billion euros to BBVA’s capital, it hardly sugarcoats a 2.3 billion euro writedown on the value of its stake. Basel may have provided a graceful way to reduce an underwhelming investment.

Oct 8, 2013
via Breakingviews

Santander believes in Spain again

Photo

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Why would Santander double up on consumers in crisis-hit Spain? The Spanish bank is buying a controlling stake in the consumer finance arm of retailer El Corte Ingles, a department store. With 26 percent of Spain’s population out of work, that might seem risky. But Santander gets access to 10.5 million new clients, a goldmine of data, and majority control of the country’s largest consumer finance business – all at a modest price.

Sep 17, 2013

Breakingviews- Spanish banks can use some accounting finesse

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

By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

MADRID, Sept 17 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Spanish banks are
feeling hard done by. They are being accused of trying to
improve their headline core capital ratios by asking the
government to change accounting rules on deferred tax assets.
The Bank of Spain’s governor, facing preemptive criticism,
insists the move “is no gimmick”. To some extent, he is right.

    • About Fiona

      "Fiona Maharg-Bravo is breakingviews´ Madrid correspondent. Fiona joined breakingviews in 2003 in London, covering media, transport, energy and Spain. Previously she spent a few months at the Financial Times as winner of the 2002 Nico Colchester Fellowship. Before becoming a journalist, Fiona worked nearly five years in banking, first at JP Morgan in equity capital markets and leveraged finance groups and then at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She gained a BA/MA (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of Chicago in Political Science and International Relations and a Diploma in Economics from Cambridge University."
    • Follow Fiona