(Oct 9): Spanish stocks and bonds have taken a beating as tensions flared over Catalonia’s bid for independence. Spain’s blue-chip Ibex 35 index slumped 2.9% to 9,964.9 points on Oct 4, falling below the 10,000 mark for the first time since March.
On Sept 30, the northeastern region held a referendum for independence. While only 42% of residents turned up, 90% voted in favour of secession. However, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared the referendum illegal. Catalonia accounts for 16% of Spain’s population and a fifth of its economic output. It includes the major city of Barcelona. As at Oct 5, Catalonian leader Carles Puigdemont has indicated that he may negotiate a settlement with the Spanish government.
Meanwhile, banks serving the Catalonian market slid amid fears over the safety of bank deposits. Shares of Caixabank, Catalonia’s largest lender, fell 5% to €3.91 on Oct 4. Banco de Sabadell fell 6% to €1.59. Both banks reassured customers that their deposits are safe. Blue chips, including energy giants Repsol and Gas Natural and telecommunications provider Telefonica, also saw their share prices slide over 2% on Oct 4.