Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Severo Moto, the leader of the Equatorial Guinean opposition, was arrested today in Toledo on arms-trafficking charges, though the guns he's accused of trafficking in consist of two shotguns and a pistol. I really don't know anything about Moto, except that he's been in trouble in Spain before but managed not to get expelled. I have no idea whether he's any more democratic than Teodoro Obiang, the very nasty dictator currently running that place.

This is important in Spain because Equatorial Guinea was Spain's only sub-Saharan African colony, and there are some Guineans living here, frequently exiles.

Repsol shares are up more than 13% today, on a report that they're in on the consortium to develop offshore oil in Brazil in a big new field.

Unpaid debts in Spain are way up no matter how you measure it, and the Bank of Spain is "moderately concerned."

The Zap government says the €10 billion stimulus package will cut the budget surplus to 0.6%, down from the predicted 1.15%. My question is whether they've taken 1-2% growth into consideration with these figures. I bet they haven't. The €400 tax refund will come half in June and the rest in monthly installments of €33. They're going to raise €4 billion with off-budget borrowing. And the regional and city governments are going to be hit very hard by the real-estate decline and corresponding loss of taxes, and they'll have to cut back spending drastically.

Meanwhile, the Montilla government has its own €2.7 billion economic stimulus for Catalonia all ready. Looks to me like it mainly consists of public works and subsidies to the construction industry.

Housing starts are going to be down 8% in 2008 in Catalonia, after a 2% increase in 2007. This will be the first decline in ten years. Pop goes the bubble.

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