Is Spain On Its Way To A New “Welcome Mr. Marshall!?”

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Pepe Ruiz (BBVA Research) | The closing data published by the INE last month confirmed that the Spanish economy experienced a contraction in 2020 like no other experienced in peacetime, with a drop of 10.8%. But this review paints a somewhat different picture, showing that there has been a differential effect for the different autonomous communities.

Although it made history, the decline in GDP in the second quarter was not so extreme and the recovery in the third quarter was somewhat more dramatic, thanks to improved exports and consumption, and less as a result of tourism. In the fourth quarter, however, the economy stagnated, with a decrease in household consumption and investments in housing.
With regard to how the regional economies performed throughout 2020, at BBVA Research, we have revised upward the variation of GDP by 0.3 pp in Aragon, Cantabria, Galicia and Murcia, which are the communities that would have benefited the most from this improvement in foreign exports, together with a lower reduction in consumption (and national tourism).

The rise in the price of oil could reduce growth by between 0.8 and 1.4 pp over 2021/2022, having a greater impact on the industrial communities in the north, as a result of their energy intensity, while the growth in the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands and Catalonia will be most affected by the delay in re-starting foreign tourism.

On the positive side, it is worth noting the US economy’s stimulus plan, with a fiscal stimulus that can exceed 12 pp of US GDP, which could increase Spain’s GDP by 0.2 pp and 0.9 pp this year and next year respectively.

However, a significant recovery is expected in the upcoming months: progress with vaccinating the population, the implementation of Next Generation EU programs and the recovery of the global environment are the main factors that will drive this improvement.

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