IMF bosses gear up for Spanish banking review

IMF bosses gear up for Spanish banking review
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Paris on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday it will begin its fourth audit of Spain's banking sector reform next week, part of a European bailout of the sector last year.

An IMF mission will begin talks with Spanish officials and private-sector representatives on Monday in Madrid, IMF spokeswoman Angela Gaviria said.

The independent monitoring review is part of technical assistance the IMF provides in conjunction with the European Union bailout of Spain's banking system in July 2012.

Gaviria said the team's preliminary conclusions would likely be published around September 30th, with a final report in early November.

In the last report, in mid-July, the IMF said that Spanish banks, which had been thrown a 41.3-billion-euro ($55 billion) lifeline a year ago, were stronger but still faced high risks.

"Risks to the economy and hence to the financial sector remain elevated," the report said.

It cited Spain's need to correct its budget deficit, reduce the high level of private debt and cope with sliding real estate prices.

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