In Spain

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In defence of Spain’s 2012 budget

MADRID | Elvira Rodríguez, who chairs the Spanish parliamentary committee on Economy and Competitiveness, and is a former State secretary for Budget and Expenditure, had two words to say about the government’s public budget: rigour and responsibility. Rodríguez published Monday an op-ed in the business daily Cinco Días, probably in advance of the heaviest wave of criticism that the country’s budget plans have had to endure during the last decade. She…


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Spain’s Budget less daunting than expected

MADRID | The Spanish government claims the 2012 budget to be the toughest ever. On face value it embodies a 2.5% GDP deficit reduction, an awesome effort by any standard. Slashing expenditure amounts to two thirds of the squeeze, the rest falling on tax adjustments. Will budgetary crunch depress activity or axe main spending policies? A closer look dispels any anxiety over these daunting effects. Many of the cuts come…


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Trick or treat: the Spanish budget

By Luis Arroyo, in Madrid | Spain’s 2012 budget brings a contraction in public spending of €18 billion and an increase in taxes of €9 billion, both items totaling €27 billion, which would put central government deficit at 3.5%. To reach the pursued 5.3%, the rest of the effort corresponds to the autonomous regional governments, not exactly the most successful part of the public administration in matters regarding austerity. In addition,…


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Why such a fuss about Spain’s budget?

By Juan Pedro Marín Arrese, in Madrid | The Spanish government will unveil today its budget bill for 2012. In the good old days, analysts and observers bent over its pages to find the clues for public sector priorities in the year. Nowadays you can dispose of such a demanding task. Brussels has unravelled its complexity, reducing the whole exercise to the simplistic aim to meet, no matter how, the deficit…


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Spain’s general strike: a first for president Rajoy, a second defeat for the unions

On March 29 at midday, while those joining the nation-wide protest in Madrid celebrated that a major store like Cortefiel had begun to close its doors, electricity demand recorded an almost imperceptible 1.5pc shorter fall that the 17.5% drop caused by the last general strike seen in the country, back in September. Having it had no discernible impact then, it seems rather logical to assume that this one will not leave any…


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Spanish banks scramble to avoid salvaging Bankia

By Juan Pedro Marin Arrese, in Madrid | Big banks in Spain have entered the merger race purchasing former nationalised entities. This sudden shift from previous reluctance to get involved in rescue deals is seen by many observers as a move to fence off pressures to salvage Bankia. According to this view, there would be great concern in financial circles over an institution that seems too big both to fail and…


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Spanish companies ready for the external demand pickup

By Carlos Díaz Guell, in Madrid | Activity levels had lately improved, in the private sector although productivity has since 2007 recorded a slowdown, as evidenced by lower growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) of companies, whose figures began to fall in that same year (6.6% versus 8% in 2006) and contracted in 2008 (-2.7%) to drop sharply in 2009 (-7.7%). In 2010 companies’ GVA recorded a recovery in produccion activity…


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AXA Real Estate: growth in lettings in Spain fuels plans for property buys

LONDON | Asset manager company AXA Real Estate said Monday it signed 68 leases on behalf of its clients representing a total of 113,350 sqm of space across its Spanish portfolio in 2011. This marks an increase of around 90% compared to 2010, when 60,855 sqm of space was let across 42 leases. Of the 68 lettings, 23 representing 10,707 sqm, were new leases, while the remaining 45, accounting for 102,643 sq m of space, comprised lease…


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Madrid crackdown on misuse of public resources

By Juan Pedro Marín Arrese | Day after day, political scandals over public funds mishandling and utter corruption hold the front page. They severely undermine Spain’s reputation and call into question its ability to enforce a proper control of resources. Squandering taxpayers’ money in profligate and inefficient expenditure has become a firmly entrenched habit. Regional and local authorities openly challenge debt limits by piling up unpaid bills. Even early retirement benefits…


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Friday’s Spanish graph: hopeful Easter

The slowdown in the European cycle begins to appear on the figures about tourism in Spain. The drop in flow of foreign tourists from Germany and the UK, with a share of above 35% of the total, weighs down in part the evolution of total inflow of tourists during the first two months of the year. Yet, until now, we are only witnessing a containment in the growth rate after a exceptionally good 2011, considering it is a period of crisis, analysts…