MADRID Feb 14 Spain's intelligence services are
investigating the role of investors and media in debt market
turbulence over the last few weeks, El Pais reported on Sunday.
Citing unnamed sources, El Pais said the National
Intelligence Centre (CNI) was looking into "speculative attacks"
on Spain following the Greek debt crisis.
"The (CNI's) Economic Intelligence division...is
investigating whether investors' attacks and the aggressiveness
of some Anglo-Saxon media are driven by market forces and
challenges facing the Spanish economy, or whether there is
something more behind this campaign," El Pais said.
Officials at the CNI were not available for comment.
The report comes days after Public Works Minister Jose
Blanco protested "somewhat murky manoeuvres" were behind
financial market pressure on Spain.
"None of what is happening in the world, including the
editorials of foreign newspapers, is coincidental or innocent,"
Economists have cast doubt on forecasts that Spain's economy
will grow by some 3 percent by 2012, on which the government has
based predictions it will cut back on its gaping budget deficit.
Some economists have said Spain's deficit could be more of a
threat than Greece to the euro, the common currency of 16
Spain's deficit has soared to 11.4 percent of its gross
domestic product amid its deepest recession in decades, but the
government has pledged to cut the gap back to a eurozone limit
of 3 percent by 2013 by cutting 50 billion euros in spending.
Markets doubt that Spain will be able to cut back
drastically on spending with unemployment running at 20 percent
and a big slice of the budget in the hands of fiercely
independent regional governments.
Underscoring those doubts, the premium demanded by investors
for buying Spanish rather than German government bonds
ES10YT=RR has risen in recent weeks and the cost of insuring
Spanish bonds against default by the government has also risen.
(Reporting by Martin Roberts; Editing by Louise Ireland)