First relief in Spain...then reflection

Spain struggling to stay afloat
Spain struggling to stay afloat

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Spain struggling to stay afloat 01:48

Story highlights

  • Questions surround the bailout deal for Spain's banks
  • It's still not known how much money Spain will need
  • Spain's bond yield ended Monday's session higher than it was before the bailout
  • Now other nations may seek to review terms of their own deals
The euphoria surrounding Spain's request for aid fizzled quickly amid a myriad of unknowns.
From Madrid to London, Paris to Frankfurt, investors were left asking themselves "'will this be enough? will it be the end?"
The bailout is worth up to $125 billion, but some say Spain's request for funds to prop up its financial sector is far from being a fait accompli.
First of all, the Spanish government doesn't even know how much money will be needed.
What's more, those lending the cash must find a way of channeling it through the country's books without jeopardizing Spain's sovereign rating.
And for the time being the eurozone's fourth-largest economy says it is solvent... even if its banks are not.
Some economists say that, frankly, is a fudge.
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"It's the flipside of what the government has been selling as a triumph," says David Bach, of Madrid's IE Business School.
"They've been saying this isn't a bailout, it's just the financial system. But of course, why does the Spanish government need help to bail out its banks?
"It needs that help because at this point the government could not be financing it themselves."
In a sign of yet more concern, Spain's bond yield ended Monday's session higher than it was before the weekend's events, with the yield on Spain's 10-year note -- effectively the country's borrowing costs -- posting its biggest one-day jump in a year.
Hardly the result the eurozone's finance ministers were hoping for.
And although eurocrats were out in force assuring everyone that "a stronger framework" was in place, people remained perplexed.
Private bondholders fear they may be relegated down the pecking order if the funds awarded to Spain are granted from the EU's permanent bailout fund - the European Stability Mechanism.
On the other hand, funding the rescue from the temporary fund -- the European Financial Stability Facility -- could give difficult eurozone members like Finland a chance to ask for collateral from Spain.
Fellow bailout recipients like Ireland -- which had to accept a full country bailout for its bust banks -- may ask for their terms to be reviewed, while Spain could clash with other countries over which banks are worth saving and which aren't.
Spain's banking sector fix is badly needed, but it is not the only ill Spain is suffering from.
The country still faces a productivity crisis and it will take years to get a quarter of its population out of the jobs line and back into the workforce.
In the meantime, the funding gap for Spain's autonomous regions continues to tick like a timebomb.
The nation is facing its second recession in just three years and output is set to shrink 1.7% this year. All the while, its commitment to austerity continues to bite the average person -- and they aren't getting a bailout.
"People are angry because they are asking, how come this money is going to the banks when they are facing the cuts to schools, to hospitals," says Eduardo Segovia of El Confidencial.com.
"Spaniards feel like they have failed, like they couldn't find a solution for this themselves."
Despite its call for bank aid, Fitch Ratings still responded by downgrading two of Spain's biggest lenders to within a whisker of junk status.
And that in turn may make Spain's bailout yet more expensive.. before it's even begun.