F. Barciela / F. Gil Ljubetic | If there had been a recovery in the Ibex 35 companies previously, it’s clear that this has stopped or slowed in the January-March period. Amongst those which have already presented first quarter results, very few have given investors much of a reason to be happy.
Articles by Fernando Barciela
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The government has designed an infrastructures and housing programme, but not one sector expert or professional believes that Spain will see a return to the level of public works investment of, for example, 2007. The PITVI (The Infrastructure, Transport and Housing Plan), in force until 2024, does not contemplate building large infrastructures but rather maintaining the existing ones.
It’s unheard of Spain’s tourism sector, which many experts said was stagnant and mature ten years ago, has not only massively recovered but continues to beat records from one year to the next in terms of numbers of international tourist arrivals. Since it touched bottom in 2009, with 52.2 million foreign tourists, the sector has not stopped growing any year. In 2015, numbers reached 65 million, up 31% in comparative terms.
It’s straight out of the textbook that low inflation – and above all deflation – has negative effects on economic growth that we all know about. That’s the main reason why ECB President Mario Draghi implemented an ambitious set of monetary expansion measures in March, with the aim of boosting prices to a level more suitable for economic growth, namely 2%.
F. Barciela/ F. G. Ljubetic | Labour costs in Spain stagnated during the crisis, but the idea that they eventually have to rise again has quite a few supporteres, including many businessmen. It would even be a postive driver for consumption and the economy general.
F. Barciela / F.G. Ljubetic | The crisis forced Spain’s banking industry to cut its number of branch offices from 46,000 in 2008 to 31,000 at end-2015, the lowest figure since 1983. But now it’s technology, the Internet and mobile which will force the banks to continue reducing their branch networks. This is a challenge facing banks across Europe and the US.
F. Barciela and F.G. Ljubetic | For several years, Spain’s third biggest bank has been trying to gain full control of Portuguese lender BPI, in which it already holds 44.1%. But up until now it has been unable to fulfill its objective. And it seems undeniable that the reason for CaixaBank’s failure is a young Angolan woman. Isabel dos Santos, 43, is the oldest daughter of José Eduardo dos Santos, one of the longest serving presidents in Africa.
In the last few months, three leading Spanish companies, Parques Reunidos, Telepizza and Cortefiel, have announced plans to list on the stock market. This wouldn’t have been so odd if it weren’t for the fact that the trio were already in the market some years ago, and were then later delisted.
F.Barciela. F.G. Ljubetic | Labour reforms in Spain are being so successful that few governments in Europe are now left doubting the need to change their labour market laws if they want to reduce unemployement figures, still over 10 per cent. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently recalled that ‘the Reforms That Saved Spain Could Also Save Europe’.
F. Barciela / F.G. Ljubetic | The bios about Carlos Slim, the third richest man in the world according to Forbes, are very clear about the origins of his fortune. He made the most of his money during the peso crisis by acquiring several blocks of shares in the biggest Mexican companies at a bargain prices. This is how he will acquire FCC, one of the biggest Spanish construction firms, for just…7.6 euros per share.