(Adds possible extension on home eviction moratorium)
MADRID Aug 24 Spain will hold off on selling
more of its controlling stake in lender Bankia until
the results of Europe-wide bank stress tests in October, Economy
Minister Luis de Guindos said in an interview published on
The FROB, a government unit which manages Spain's bank
holdings, sold a 7.5 percent chunk of Bankia in February,
kicking off the privatisation process and turning the bank into
a symbol of the country's economic recovery.
The government owns 61.5 percent of Bankia.
The European Central Bank is due to publish the results of a
half-year investigation into Europe's largest banks on Oct. 17.
"After October we'll have a much clearer picture, not only
on Spanish banks and Bankia, but of the entire European banking
system ... and then we'll look at all the options," de Guindos
told Spanish news agency Europa Press.
"I'm convinced that Bankia will pass the stress tests with a
good grade," he said.
Many Spanish banks received European funds to boost capital
levels when cash-strapped businesses and homeowners struggled to
pay back debts during the economic crisis that followed a burst
housing bubble in 2008.
The government introduced a two-year moratorium on home
evictions in November 2012 to protect the country's most needy
families, a measure which de Guindos said could be extended.
"We'll take a look at the situation and if there's still a
need, which I think there will be, of course we'll extend the
length (of the moratorium)," he said.
De Guindos reiterated forecasts that the Spanish economy
would grow by 1.5 percent this year, up from a previous estimate
of 1.2 percent, even in the context of slower growth in the rest
"The recovery is continuing and I'm convinced that it will
continue in the next two quarters of this year," he said in the
interview, and repeated a forecast for 2 percent growth next
year, up from a previous estimate of 1.8 percent.
Spain will publish its official economic projections for the
next few years as part of its 2015 budget proposal in September.
(Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; editing by Keiron Henderson and