Almost €100bn pulled out of Spain as investors beat a hasty retreat

Almost €100bn (£80.2bn) of cash was pulled out of Spain in the first three months of the year by private and corporate investors fleeing the advancing financial and political crisis.

The Bank of Spain said €66.2bn was withdrawn in March alone – the fastest rate since records began in 1990 – taking the total to €97bn for the first quarter.

Experts warned that the chaotic state-rescue of Bankia is likely to have speeded up the capital flight, compounding the already critical instability of the banks. Foreign investors have also rapidly withdrawn their support for Spanish government funding. According to figures from Barclays Capital, foreigners accounted for just 30pc of the holders of Spanish sovereign debt in March, down from 40pc at the same time last year. In a bid to plug the draining confidence, Spain on Friday launched a diplomatic offensive in the US and Germany in a bid to win support for its banks but still stave off a bail-out.

Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, Spain’s deputy prime minister, was despatched across the Atlantic for crisis talks with Tim Geitner, the US Treasury secretary, and Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Finance minister, Luis de Guindos, was sent to Germany to meet his counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble, sometimes seen as the eurozone’s paymaster.

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Categories: Economics, Europe, Spain

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