Relatively sanguine stock markets around the world, despite a fierce constitutional crisis raging in Spain, has left analysts contemplating why investor sentiment hasn’t been hit by Catalonia’s quest for independence.
Spanish stocks rose 1.7 percent Monday morning despite the political unrest in Catalonia. Spain’s IBEX is only down by 0.7 percent since the independence referendum that took place on October 1 and it is up by 9 percent year-to-date. Other European bourses have been unaffected too.
Claus Vistesen, chief euro zone economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, believes that Catalonia’s inability to push through with independence is a key reason for the optimism.
“Markets deem it unlikely that Catalonia will go full rogue and try to engineer some kind of hard break from Spain. After all, they don’t have the support of government structure to do that,” he told CNBC via email on Monday.
On Friday, the Spanish region of Catalonia declared independence from Madrid while the national government imposed direct rule over the regional government and called for fresh elections. Spanish shares dipped on the news and 10-year government bond yields hit a session high.
However, markets soon stabilized and Philippe Gijsels, chief strategist at BNP Paribas Fortis, believes that cheap money in Europe, thanks to the European Central Bank’s (ECB) quantitative easing program, is also making investors calm.
“The worse it gets geopolitically, the easier monetary policy will be,” he said, meaning that if the political situation worsens, the ECB will step in if necessary to protect the economic recovery in the region.
Furthermore, investors are also confident on the Spanish economy, which has been one of the strongest performers in the euro area since the recession.
Data released Monday morning showed Spain’s economy grew at a pace of 0.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, slightly lower than the 0.9 percent gross domestic product seen in the previous quarter. Spain is nonetheless expected to grow at about 2.8 percent this year, according to forecasts by the European Commission.
“The easy monetary policy and a general cyclical revival have a lot to do with this relative indifference. If the economy was slowing, it would be a bigger deal I think,” Vistesen added.
3 major reasons why markets don’t care about Spain’s Catalan crisis