Spanish minister confident over stress tests

MADRID, July 20, 2010 (AFP) - Spain's finance minister forecast on Tuesday that the European banking 'stress test' results to be released this week would show that Spain's financial system is solid.

The European Union is releasing the results of the tests of the strength of Europe's leading banks on Friday and much focus will be put on the details of banks in Spain, as well as Greece and other nations with high debt levels.

"When all the figures are known, we will see that the truth is that our financial system is solid and ready to face the future," Finance Minister Elena Salgado told Spanish National Radio (RNE).

Salgado said the Spanish results would include the major traditional banks and regional lending institutions that were recently reorganised. She said the results would be released in all "transparency".

Major banks such as Santander and BBVA are believed to have ridden out the international financial crisis in good shape but many regional institutions have been merged in recent weeks because of financial difficulties.

Salgado said the reorganisation has brought "strength and solvency".

The results of stress tests to assess a lender's capacity to withstand economic or financial upheaval will be released Friday at 1600 GMT, the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS) said on Monday.

The committee, charged by the European Commission to oversee publication of the tests, will release overall results after the closure of European stock markets on its website.

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