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Spain in no rush to seek aid, banks to need 60 bln eur - EconMin
MADRID, Sept 22 |
MADRID, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Spain will not rush to seek external aid to finance its debt, Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said on Saturday, adding that the country's banks will need around 60 billion euros to clean up the toxic property assets on their balance sheets.
De Guindos said deficit-cutting efforts would remain a priority for the government, which next week presents its draft budget plan for 2013, new structural reforms and the results of stress tests on its wobbly banking sector.
Spain is at the centre of the euro zone debt crisis, now in its third year, and investors believe a high deficit, soaring debts, a banking sector brought low by the bursting of a real estate bubble and a deepening economic contraction will eventually force Madrid to seek more external help.
The government sought a 100 billion euro European credit line to recapitalise troubled lenders in June. It has been in talks for weeks over a bond-buying programme from the European Central Bank and the euro zone rescue funds which it is hesitating to request on concerns over the tough conditions attached.
"This is not about rescuing Spain but about making sure that the euro currency project is a project for everybody. Spain will do what it has to do but with no rush," De Guindos said when asked about the possibility of seeking this assistance in the next few days.
EU paymaster Germany said on Friday that Spain does not need a European bailout, contrasting with French pressure on Madrid to avail itself of ECB help.
De Guindos also confirmed that he expected the results of an independent stress test of Spain's banking sector conducted by consultancy Oliver Wyman to be in line with preliminary estimates released in June of 60 billion euros.
It will not be possible to allocate to other needs, such as financing the state, any unused money from the 100 billion euro credit line, De Guindos added.
"The credit line we've got is strictly for the banks... You'll see the results of the Oliver Wyman report at the end of next week. I believe that they will not be far from the maximum amount Oliver Wyman showed in its first estimates, which were of around 60 billion euros," De Guindos told journalists after meeting officials of the ruling People's Party in Madrid. (Reporting by Julien Toyer, additional reporting by Blanca Rodriguez; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
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