Florida Business Mission Heading into Severe Banking Storm in Spain
Florida already has more than 300 Spanish companies doing business in the state. But Gov. Rick Scott sees more. Earlier this week he proclaimed in a radio interview, "I want a thousand of them."
Heading to Spain this weekend on a business development mission, the governor has a triumphant spirit. Riding with that spirit will be some 60 government officials and Florida businessmen to add girth and pomp to the occasion.
Gov. Scott may need all that, and more.
Times are hard in Spain right now. The country's economy is on its knees.
According to a Reuters report, Spain's borrowing costs shot up at a bond auction on Thursday and its troubled banks suffered a double blow, with shares in part-nationalized Bankia diving and 16 lenders -- including the eurozone's biggest -- having their credit ratings cut.
Official data confirmed Spain was back in recession and a newspaper reported a big outflow of deposits from Bankia, but the government said it had taken a fundamental step to strengthen Spain's credibility by agreeing to big budget cuts with the country's free-spending regions.
Moody's Investors Service cut the long-term debt and deposit ratings of the 16 Spanish banks, including Banco Santander, the eurozone's largest, saying the government's ability to support some banks had weakened.
Spain's banks, saddled with bad loans after a property boom collapsed, lie at the heart of the eurozone crisis as markets fear any major rescue would strain Madrid's already stretched finances and possibly require an international bailout.
How any of this will affect Florida's business development is unclear. But despite the darkening sky, an enthusiastic Gov. Scott and the savvy 60-person mission from the Sunshine State might have something appealing to sell development-minded Spanish businessmen.