Bond spreads soared and European markets tanked on Wednesday over uncertainty whether Spain would weather its debt crisis without aid. European markets burned through a collective 133 billion euros in capitalization. Spanish Premier Mariano Rajoy warned that Spain would request aid if its bond interest remained too high for too long in a Wall Street Journal interview published Wednesday. The difference between interest rates on Spanish and German 10-year bonds soared 44 basis points Wednesday to close at 460, with the yield on ten year Spanish bonds at 6.06%. The spread between interest rates on Italian bonds and the German benchmark closed at 375 basis points - a 24 point rise over Tuesday's close. The yield on Italian 10-year bonds was 5.21%.
The spread, for Italy and Spain, is the key barometer of their governments' borrowing costs and of market confidence in their ability to weather the eurozone crisis.
Madrid's Ibex 35 crumpled more than other European stock indices, closing at 7,854.4 points down 3.92%. The poor performance of Milan's FTSE-MIb was not far behind, and closed at 15,408 points, down 3.29%. In Milan, banks - with their substantial exposure to Italian debt - were the hardest hit stocks. Unicredit, Mediolanum, BPM and UBI all lost more than 5%.
Banco Popolare fell 6.18%.
Other European market indices - Paris's CAC 40 down 2.82%, London's FTSE-100 down 1.56%, Frankfurt's DAX down 2% - also lost significant ground.