The weight of bank debt needing refinancing next year could threaten Spain's solvency and force it to become the next European country to seek a bail-out, according to a report from the investment banking arm of Barclays.
After Ireland was finally forced this week to ask for financial help from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Barclays analysts now say it is possible that a similar fate could await Spain.
In the first four months of 2011, the Spanish government and the country's banks must raise about €70bn in the bond market, which Barclays said would be a "big test for investor appetite", adding that it was concerned with the "execution risk".
The Spanish government has set up an €99bn fund to help its banks, however only €12bn of this is pre-funded and €11bn has already been drawn down, meaning the country will have to borrow more from the bond market to fund the rest.
Spanish pensions funds could be leaned on to buy some of the bonds, but not enough to cover the entire amount the government will need to raise.