Spanish borrowing rate rises to record above German rate

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The interest rate demanded for lending money for 10 years to Spain rose to a record high level compared with the German rate, in initial trading on Thursday shortly before Spain and France issue new bonds.

The spread or gap between the two rates, a sign of acute tension over the eurozone debt crisis, widened to 470.6 basis points or 4.706 percentage points.

Also at the centre of market attention is the Germany-France spread which was 196.6 basis points.

This week borrowing rates for every country in the eurozone except Germany have risen, notably for Italy and Spain but also for France which now has to pay about twice as much as Germany to borrow for 10 years.

There is concern that if the French borrowing rate continues to rise, the architecture of the European Union EFSF rescue fund could be compromised.

Market attention was therefore focused on Thursday on an issue of French bonds to raise 6.0-7.0 billion euros ($8.1-$9.45 billion) and of Spanish bonds to raise 3.0-4.0 billion euros.

The arrival of new governments in Italy and Greece had some steadying effect initially on financial markets but then uncertainty over the composition of teams and their policies over the weekend set markets back, and concern remains high that the acute debt strains could spread, dragging even Italy into deep trouble.

This would aggravate balance sheet problems for banks holding large quantities of government bonds issued by countries under extra pressure.

France is also now under pressure on the debt market.

© 2011 AFP

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