Fiona's Feed
Jul 2, 2012
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Plenty of room for wrangling over Spanish recaps

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Mariano Rajoy has won a victory, of sorts. Germany yielded to the Spanish prime minister’s request that the euro zone should be able to prop up his country’s teetering banks directly. If that happens, the state’s debt load won’t need to shoot up by 100 billion euros.

Jun 18, 2012
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Why it’s hard to shut down a Spanish bank

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Joaquin Almunia, the vice-president of the European Commission, has prematurely weighed into the debate on possible conditions attached to the country’s 100 billion euro bank bailout. Before the rescue operation even began, he opined that liquidating a bank could make sense if the costs of keeping it alive with public money exceed the costs of shutting it down. This sounds sensible in theory. But in Spain, it’s not that simple.

Jun 11, 2012
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Spain still vulnerable post mega bank bailout

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Hugo Dixon

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Spain is still vulnerable after its mega bank bailout. Madrid has finally got a credible plan for its lenders: it will receive up to 100 billion euros from its euro partners to boost their capital. But the state’s debt will rise as a result, the economy is still shrinking and the government has lost a lot of credibility. Spain may yet require a full bailout. That would really test the single currency.

Jun 7, 2012
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Spain’s message keeps getting lost in translation

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

With multiple government officials speaking at once, it’s hard to know exactly what Spain is thinking. Having one authoritative voice would help. One thing seems clear: the government is not yet asking for a bailout. Still, some outside help might be inevitable for the country’s banks.

Jun 1, 2012
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Why Spain is under siege

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Madrid’s elites profess shock at the fact that the country has been pushed to the brink. Spain’s top companies have even put together a report outlining the country’s strengths, and asking investors to look at the hard data. But laying the blame on ignorant investors, evil foreign media and the euro zone’s paralysis doesn’t help.

May 28, 2012
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Bankia’s whopping bailout is double-edged sword

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Bankia’s whopping bailout is a mixed blessing. The Spanish lender has asked the government for a higher-than-expected 19 billion euros to fill its capital hole. State support will shore up a systemic institution. But the scale of the cleanup implies other weak lenders are also short of cash. It is unlikely that Madrid can fill the gap on its own.

May 18, 2012
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Botched bailout rebounds on Bankia

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Bank nationalisations are never pretty, but they are generally supposed to reassure savers. That’s why a report that depositors fled Bankia after the government last week took control of Spain’s fourth-largest lender is so troubling. The government has denied the report, and Bankia’s new chairman said depositors can be absolutely calm. Yet the latest share price plunge inflicts further pain on clients who participated in the lender’s IPO last summer.

May 9, 2012
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Spain finally owns up to its banking mess

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

Mariano Rajoy has bowed to the inevitable. It can’t have been easy for Spain’s prime minister to admit the country’s battered financial system could need more public funds. Even so, Madrid is preparing to inject 7-10 billion euros into Bankia, according to Reuters. Propping up the big former savings bank is only the first step in what is hopefully a definitive cleanup.

Apr 20, 2012
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Spain’s banks could use some disaster insurance

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo and Peter Thal Larsen

The authors are Reuters Breakingviews columnists. The opinions expressed are their own.

Spain’s banks are once again in the eye of the storm. Though the sector has undergone consolidation and raised fresh capital, most lenders are still shut out of wholesale markets. Concerns about banking contagion are one reason Spanish bond yields are in the danger zone once more. Disaster insurance, underwritten by the euro zone, could help take the issue off the table.

Apr 18, 2012
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Repsol nearly pricing in the worst

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By Fiona Maharg-Bravo

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

How bad could it get for Repsol in Argentina? The Spanish oil and gas company has just had the bulk of its 57 percent stake in YPF expropriated by Buenos Aires. It’s far from clear whether Repsol will be properly compensated. Which way it goes could make big difference to its market value.

    • 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."
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