Banks weigh up Catalonia future amid independence drive

Banks weigh up Catalonia future amid independence drive
By Euronews
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One major lender has already decided to move its legal base from Catalonia. Another is considering such a move.


What about the economic cost of Catalonia’s independence drive?

Caixabank, Spain’s third-largest lender, is said to be considering moving its legal headquarters out of the breakaway region, due to political uncertainty.

A decision is expected on Friday when the Spanish government is reportedly poised to issue a decree that would make such a move easier.

Spain’s fifth-largest bank, Sabadell, has already decided to move its registered head office from Catalonia to Alicante, on Spain’s eastern coast.

Rafael Sambola, Economics Professor at EADA Business School in Barcelona, explains that the stakes are high.

“The fall of Spanish bonds, a rise in interest rates, an increase in the risk premium and the possible halt of foreign investments in Catalonia and Spain, are the consequences of the risk posed by the political and economic situation,” he said.

Catalonia's banks prepare to move amid fears of a customer exodus

— Bloomberg (@business) 5 octobre 2017

Many Spanish business leaders and foreign companies with operations in Catalonia have been expressing their concerns.

Euronews tested the temperature at Barcelona Industry Week.

“Not knowing the future of Catalonia – whether it is inside or outside Spain- makes entrepreneurs think about their companies,” said Victor Serrano of Dracos Intelligence System, explaining that the key concern is stability because that is what investors are looking for.

“We will always go in the safest direction,” he said.

“At the business level, there is concern but on a daily basis everything continues the same,” said fellow entrepreneur Carles Ramírez of INVESTIM.

“We are expecting to know what the next steps will be, but our mission is to continue pushing companies and moving forward, trying to convey stability and confidence that it will all be solved in a peaceful, reasoned and agreed way”.

S&P says it's thinking of downgrading Catalonia's debt rating

— The Local Spain (@TheLocalSpain) 5 octobre 2017

Catalonia is a centre of industry and tourism that accounts for a fifth of Spain’s economy, a production base for major multinationals from Volkswagen to Nestle, and home to Europe’s fastest-growing sea port.

But financial markets have been shaken this week by fears that secession would undermine the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy, dealing a heavy blow to Spain’s finances and sending the Catalan economy into a tailspin.

Shares in Caixabank and Sabadell have been pummelled this week. Reports they might move caused the stocks to surge on Thursday.

with Reuters

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