European stocks close lower as Spain’s debts rise

<p>European stocks look set to close down as Spain’s debts reach new highs.</p>

The major European stock indices look set to close lower this afternoon (September 18th) on news Spain's bad debts have reached record heights.

Figures from the Bank of Spain reveal the value of the troubled Iberian nation's bad debts held by its financial institutions in July now stand at €169.3 billion (£136 billion).

The central bank said 9.9 per cent of its banks' total loans were in arrears, up from June's 9.4 per cent.

This is the highest bad loan ratio since the country began compiling this type of data back in 1962.

Spain is yet to request a formal bailout from international lenders and the nation is assessing the conditions surrounding such a rescue from the European Central Bank.

At 16:45 BST, all the major European benchmarks were down, with the Ibex in Madrid tumbling 0.7 per cent to an index value of 8087.3 points, the Dax in Frankfurt slipping 0.4 per cent to 7368.6 points and the Paris Cac 40 losing 0.8 per cent to 2454.6 points.

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