Archive for June 2nd, 2012

Graph of the Week

Spanish house price index down from a peak of 125 to 98 in April 2012

Spain featured in the news during the week as fears grew that its banks would force the country to seek an imminent bailout. The problem with the Spanish banks is all too familiar to us in Ireland – they overexposed themselves to property development lending in the 2000s as Spain experienced a property boom on a par with Ireland’s – for more detail on the Spanish property boom and how it compared to Ireland’s, see here. What might be particularly concerning to Irish observers is the relatively modest decline in Spanish residential property prices which have fallen less than 25% from peak in their EuroZone economy. Ours are down 49.9% according to the CSO two weeks ago. And if Spain, which has ghost towns, not just ghost estates and which had general over-construction on the same scale as Ireland and is today confronted by an uncompetitive economy, 24% unemployment – the highest in Europe – and a deficit of 6.4% this year which seems to be constantly revised upwards,  then Spain may need a bank bailout on the scale of Ireland’s, and in their case that’s €250bn-plus.

Photograph of the Week

In response to criticism of his perceived shying away from a live television debate on the Fiscal Compact referendum, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny claims he debates most days of the week on the floor of the Dail and that he has travelled up and down the country speaking with ordinary people. He was in Charleville,county Corkduring the week where he was met by protestors including the Ballyhea bank bailout protestors, as the photographs above show. Any debate was conducted from the back seat of his black Mercedes through a cordon of Gardai.

The Ballyhea protest will be back on the streets of Charleville tomorrow at 11.30am and during the forthcoming week, the protestors will be making a very German protest by nailing a proclamation to the doors of the ECB in Frankfurt, see here for details.

Quote of the Week

“Not enough votes” Libertas chairman Declan Ganley’s considered opinion on why the “No” side lost the Fiscal Compact referendum.

“I don’t accept the premise of that question” An Taoiseach Enda Kenny (pictured below) responding to a prickly question from the Irish Examiner at the press conference after the announcement of the referendum result yesterday. Taoiseach Kenny was asked about his failure to engage in a leaders’ debate on the referendum and if his shyness tells us anything about the failure of negotiations behind the closed doors of EU summits. Perhaps more worrying is the lifting of the “I don’t accept the premise of that question” from the West Wing television series as in fictional White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry’s  “If you don’t like what they’re asking you don’t accept the premise of the question” So now you know what a €168,000-a-year special adviser in Ireland gets you – someone to watch West Wing DVDs!

Glossary of the Week

With Spain sniffing around the NAMA concept as a possible solution to its intensifying banking crisis, here is what might become a useful Spanish vocabulary.

NAMA for the little people – NAMA para los pequeños
We are where we are – Estamos donde estamos
There is no alternative – No hay alternativa
Kick the can down the road – patear la lata en el camino
Tranche – rebanada
Too big to fail – Demasiado grande para quebrar
Deadline (as in when NAMA was supposed to have acquired all of its tranches or agreed business plans with its developers) – mañana


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