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Spain bad loan ratio hits highest in 15 years in Feb

Source: Reuters - Tue 19th Apr 2011

The ratio of Spanish bank loans that have turned sour hit a 15-year high in February as problems at its regionally controlled savings banks worsened, central bank data showed on Monday.

Spanish banks are suffering the hangover of a debt-fuelled property boom and bust and the country's worst recession in half a century. The amount of unpaid debt has been rising steadily since the beginning of the global financial crisis.

The ratio of bad loans to total lending by Spain's financial sector - including banks, financial cooperatives and retail credit cards - rose to 6.19% in February from 6.06% in January. February's was the highest level since September 1995.

The amount of bad debt rose by 1.771 billion euros to 112.458 billion in February, the central bank said.

Credit quality at Spain's savings banks in particular has deteriorated due to their heavy exposure to the property sector.

The Bank of Spain has recently implemented tough new capital requirements for banks and savings banks.

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