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IMF Adds to Pressure on Spain to Seek Bailout, ECB Help

The International Monetary Fund urged euro-region countries facing high borrowing rates to seek a bailout that will activate the European Central Bank’s bond- purchase program, adding to pressure on Spain, which has been resisting the move.

In a note prepared for finance officials of the Group of 20 nations who met in Mexico Nov. 4-5 and released today, the IMF said countries “under stress” should turn to the region’s rescue mechanisms if needed while continuing to shore up their public finances.

“Access to funding at reasonable costs is essential to allow economies to adjust successfully,” the IMF wrote. “While economies in the periphery must continue to adjust their fiscal balances at a pace they can bear, in the current fragile environment, putting in place the right policies may not be sufficient to fully restore the confidence of markets, not least because of implementation risks.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is keeping investors guessing as to whether he will request a bailout that would trigger the ECB’s Outright Monetary Transaction. He said on Nov. 6 that he needs to know how much the central bank would push down Spain’s bond yields before his government applies for aid and signs up to the conditions attached.

“Lower interest rates and easier financial conditions are key factors to facilitate balance sheet repair and support growth in the periphery,” said the IMF, which co-finances bailouts in Greece, Portugal and Ireland.

The Washington-based IMF also said the threat of automatic tax increases and spending cuts in the U.S. set to take effect next year is a “major source of risk” on global growth.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sandrine Rastello in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at

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