Not so bullish about Pamplona's bulls

The famous annual festival in Spain has been hit by the country's economic crisis.

By Kim Peterson Jul 15, 2010 3:55PM
Bull market © Tom Brakefield / Photodisc Green / Getty ImagesMaybe Spain should try the running of the bears instead.

The annual festival celebrating the running of the bulls has been tempered this year, The Wall Street Journal reports. Spain is suffering an economic downturn that threatens to turn into a crippling recession, and people aren't so bullish on the bulls anymore.

Normally, nearby businesses pull in about half their annual sales during the Fiesta de San Fermines in Pamplona. But this year, business has slumped. Tourists are staying away, and the ones that did show tried to keep it on the cheap by buying alcohol in local supermarkets, writes Joe Parkinson.

"People are coming into my restaurant asking for a glass with ice because they've bought their drinks from elsewhere," one bar operator told the Journal. "I think a lot of bars will shut down after the fiesta because they haven't made the money they expected to -- morale here is sinking fast."

The festival, which ended Thursday, saw its budget cut by 10% to $3 million. Post continues after video:
"Spain is battling its deepest peacetime recession on record and the highest unemployment rate in the euro zone, at 20%," Parkinson writes. "So far this year, the IBEX-35, the key index of the battered Spanish stock market, has slid 14%."

How bad are things in Spain? In Madrid, people start lining up at the unemployment office two hours before the 7 a.m. open, NPR reports.

The economic crisis rattled the world in 2008, leaving 1 million new housing units unsold in Spain. The job losses in that country would eventually climb to 2.5 million.

Now, Spain is in the middle of painful budget cuts to try and recover. It's freezing all state pensions and has cut government workers' pay by 5%, NPR reports.

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