In July 2010, I saw Spain as the keystone in the euro zone puzzle:
“Spain is the tipping point in the European sovereign debt crisis as I see it. In a nutshell, as goes Spain, so goes Europe.”
Two years later, I still believe that Spain is the most important line in the sand that euro zone leaders have to grapple with and the country whose fate is probably most intertwined with the future of the euro.
The chart of the week below shows weekly bars of EWP going back five years. The dominant feature in this chart is the financial crisis of 2008-2009. Various iterations of the euro zone crisis can be identified in the bottoms in June 2010, September 2011, November 2011, etc. EWP was in a gradual downtrend from April 2011 to March 2012, but fell sharply until the beginning of June. The most recent bounce in the Spanish ETF still looks somewhat tentative on the charts and is likely to be tested in the weeks and months ahead.
As concerning as the equity situation looks in Spain, the country’s credit default swaps (just 8% off of their all-time highs at 578) and yields on sovereign debt (yields on the 10-year bond are 5% below their all-time highs at 6.95%) indicate an even greater degree of financial stress.
At one time or another, I would expect Italy, France to find their way back into the crosshairs of traders who are looking to capitalize on euro zone angst, but as far as I am concerned, Spain will continue to the most critical line in the sand.