The figures issued by the Bank of Spain have confirmed what we could already see with the naked eye; namely that Spaniards are losing their fear of the future and spending again. After several years of austerity, the consumers in Spain have gradually loosened their purse strings over the past year. And to such an extent that consumer spending rose 3.1% in 2015, almost tripling the 1.2% registered a year earlier.
Articles by Fernando Barciela
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F. Barciela and F.G. Ljubetic | Not everything is bad news with stocks. The current collapse of the markets has produced very clear opportunities for all those investors who give priority to dividend payments.
Basque wind turbines manufacturer Gamesa will probably be sold to Siemens, according to news published in the last few days and a regulatory filing from the company. In this filing, Gamesa admitted it is holding talks with the German industrial conglomerate.
Low oil prices can be good for the drivers, but they are simply catastrophic for the oil companies and the markets. Many top oil firms have seen their earnings sharply reduced and their credit ratings cut. It is expected that prices will rise again, but not before late this year or 2017. The big question is whether the industry will be able to survive until then.
President Rajoy loves to say that Spain is the country with more GDP and employment growth in the EU. And, of course, he is right. When the PP took office in December 2011, unemployment was increasing at a rate of 7.9 per cent a year. Now, four years later, as the PP’s leader has recalled, ‘it’s dropping at an annual rate of 8 per cent.’ But the most common concern for foreign analysts is the low quality of the jobs being created in Spain.
Luis Carlos Croissier is a member of the board of Repsol, Spain’s biggest oil company. He recalls that proven global oil reserves are currently double the level they were in 1980. Croissier was also chairman of the CNMV, the stock exchange regulatory body, and responsible for the Spanish bourse’s “Big Bang”, at the end of 80’s. Before that time, he was Industry Minister in Spain’s Socialist party.
The collapse of the global stockmarkets, with European bourses falling 10 percent or more over the past month, is a cry for help to the central banks to ‘do something’, namely provide more stimulus to the economy. One of these voices is Ray Dalio, founder of the world’s biggest hedge fund Bridgewater, who said that the Federal Reserve needs to start printing money again to boost markets.
The abrupt fall in crude oil prices, considered a blessing not so long ago, is now seen as increasingly troubling. West Texas and Brent crude prices fell from over $100 a barrel in 2014 to just $30 last Friday, a 12-year low. Although the drop in crude waw initially welcomed, many fear that current low prices may bring with them more problems than solutions.
Spain has been on a kind of roller coaster ride in 2015, lurching between good and bad news. There was a lot of the first, but it seems not quite good enough to please and impress Spaniards, if the outcome of the general elections is anything to go by. Unless the Socialist ‘barones’ (the regional bosses) can persuade PSOE leader Pedro Sanchez to give the PP a chance to form a new government with the backing of Ciudadanos, there could be worse to come.
Ana María Llopis, independent director at Societe Generale explains that “the entity’s share price was at 40 euros before the crisis and now it is around 42-44 euros. So some banks have recovered. Then there are others still at low prices for particular reasons, or because they operate in China or Brazil.”