Banks: Spanish banking catches air on the Stock Market although it still loses 10% due to the war in Ukraine | Economy

The conflict unleashed by Russia in Ukraine has already had endless economic consequences due to the military attack and, also, because of the sanctions imposed by the West. One of the sectors that has suffered the most from this blow has been banking: its business has a lot of interconnection between countries, in addition to direct sanctions to the heart of the financial sector such as the expulsion of Russian banks from the SWIFT system. Among the five entities that operate on the Spanish Ibex 35 —Banco Santander, BBVA, CaixaBank, Bankinter and Sabadell—, their share price has fallen by around 10% and they have lost 14,250 million market capitalization since February 24, the date on which the invasion began.

Nuria Álvarez, an analyst at Renta 4, maintains that the volatility of recent weeks and the accumulated decline is mainly due to the doubts generated in the markets by a war situation. “It is not surprising for the economic and global blow it has. More in the middle of a recovery that is now paralyzed, ”she assures. Something in which senior officials in the sector agree, describing it as a huge uncertainty from which there is still no way out in sight. Among these Spanish listed companies, the one that suffers the most is Sabadell: it has gone from a price of 0.836 euros per share at the close of February 23 to 0.6958 euros per share this Friday. That is, it accumulates a drop of 16.77%. On the opposite side is CaixaBank, which has left only 5.15% since the start of the Russian attack. In an intermediate zone are BBVA (-11.69%), Banco Santander (-11.54%, a loss of more than 7,000 million capitalization) and Bankinter (-8.22%).

The evolution of the banks in the European parks has been similar in these two weeks. In fact, in recent days they have caught some air and have cut their losses for various reasons: the negotiations to resolve the conflict, the search for alternatives to Russian oil and the recent position of the ECB that does not rule out that the rise in interest rates be maintained for this year in the face of the threat of runaway inflation. In the sector, they are confident that rates will grow this year, since they believe that there is not much more room for another delay. Joaquín Robles, an analyst at XTB, considers that these have been the determining factors, since they are the ones that put sticks in the wheels of the recovery: “It remains to be seen how long the war lasts and how the economy will turn out, but there is fear of recession ”.

This negative effect in Spain is produced more as a consequence of a general worsening than due to its exposure to the Russian market. In fact, according to Eurostat, Spanish banks only have an exposure of 812 million dollars (740 million euros at current exchange rates) in Russia. That is, well below the Italians (25,310 million dollars), French (25,156 million dollars) and Austrians (17,511 million dollars). “We live in a globalized world and it is difficult to say which one will suffer more. That is why all the banks go down together, but then the most exposed will be punished above it, ”Robles clarifies. In fact, the Spanish sector has greatly reduced its business with Moscow: in 2009 the exposure was more than 3,500 million dollars. A decision that is now considered a huge success, as senior bank managers privately point out.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


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