ECONOMY

Greece scuppers the markets once more

Debt problems continue to cast shadow over financial markets Spanish benchmark index sheds 3.39 percent to hit a low for year

Greece’s debt problem on Tuesday continued to cast a shadow over the Spanish financial markets and the rest of Europe ahead of the close of the Hellenic country’s debt swap on Thursday.

Concerns about Greece were compounded by figures showing the euro zone is heading for its second recession in less than three years, causing the Spanish blue-chip Ibex 35 to post its biggest daily fall since November of last year, and the country’s risk premium to jump to 336 basis points.

The Spanish benchmark index shed 3.39 percent to hit a low for the year of 8,166.60 points, in line with falls in the rest of the European bourses. Paris shed 2.59 percent, Frankfurt 2.54 percent and Milan 2.56 percent.

The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat on Tuesday confirmed the euro-zone economy contracted 0.3 percent in the last three months of 2011.

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