Spain may be living one of the toughest moments in its modern economic history, but even now some indicators show a more moderate decline than generally believed. One of those figures is the level of foreign investment of Spanish companies.
Comparing to 1995, it has become eight times larger. During the last year of prime minister Felipe González in government, companies had foreign investment volumes equivalent to 5% of the national GDP; today, amid a credit freeze and after more than five years of adjustment, the total has reached 45%, which is also proof of a strenuous effort of internationalisation in spite of the ups and downs of the economic cycle.
This piece of data is being used by the Rajoy government as part of its main reasons to assure observers that the Spanish economy is in a better position to exit the crisis than it ever was 18 years ago. Capita income currently doubles that of 1995 and contributions to the social security system is much higher, too–pensioner numbers and the average pension has obviously risen.
“This isn’t an intendedly optimistic argument,” Finance minister Cristóbal Montoro on Monday told journalists gathered at the Menédez Pelayo University in Santander, where he just presented these figures. Montoro added a few more: an external balance with surplus, improved access to international markets and improved spending power because of a low inflation–the minister forgot to mention that at the end of this year many unemployed workers will stop receiving benefits and that many companies have cut down wages.
The Spanish minister said there are no further tax hikes on the pipe line for fuels, but didn’t dismiss the possibility of more fiscal pressure on cars, alcohol and tobacco products. “The evolution of our economy signals that it has hit bottom and there could be a revival in the next quarter,” Montoro explained. There is light at the end of the tunnel.