Catalan economic recovery accelerates even faster in the second quarter and posts a 1.3% annual growth
The pace of the Catalan economic recovery is "accelerating" according to Miquel Valls, the President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce. This is especially apparent in the second quarter of this year, which saw the interannual GDP grow by 1.3%, compared to the 0.4% growth registered in the first quarter of 2014. This rapid acceleration will oblige the Chamber to review in its autumn report its economic forecasts for Catalonia in 2014 and 2015, which are currently set at 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. Although there is still uncertainty to exactly what shape the new economic climate will take, the new predictions of growth could be above 1.5% for 2014 and 2% in 2015, indicated Valls.
Barcelona (ACN).- Miquel Valls, the President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that the pace of the Catalan economic recovery is "accelerating". This has become especially apparent in the second quarter of this year, which saw the interannual GDP grow by 1.3%, a huge acceleration compared to the 0.4% growth in the first quarter of 2014. Valls stated that this rapid acceleration, which has been observed in various economic sectors, "obligates" the Chamber to review in its autumn report for its economic forecasts Catalonia in 2014 and 2015, which are currently predicted to be 1.2% and 1.5% respectively. Although there is still uncertainty to exactly what shape the new Catalan economic climate will take, the President of the Chamber of Commerce commented that the new predictions of growth could be above 1.5% for 2014 and 2% in 2015.
Valls stated that the report on the current Catalan economic situation included an "extraordinary" evaluation of the employment growth in Catalonia in the second quarter of this year in relation to the same period last year. The President remarked that this growth has led to the creation of nearly 100,000 new jobs in Catalonia (99,400), which are more than half of the jobs that have been created throughout the whole of Spain. Valls explained that this job creation was observed in the results of Spain's Active Population Survey (EPA) and will result in more household consumption and the continued acceleration of the economic recovery.
The current economic forecast that the Chamber of Commerce determined for 2014 and 2015 predict growth to be 1.2% and 1.5% of Catalonia's GDP. However, considering the recent statistics, this figure will "probably" be revised in the autumn economic report and placed around 1.5% for 2014 and 2% for 2015, said Valls.
Exportation and internationalisation as key economic motors
The predominant motors which are fuelling this economic recovery are exports and the internationalisation of companies, many of which have assumed foreign sales as a key business strategy in recent years. Valls warned that this strategy has to be maintained and not seen as a "temporary" action which was only undertaken to deal with the falling sales in the domestic market. "Exportation is the key to strengthening this economic recovery", he stated.
Conversely, export activity in Catalonia has slowed down in the last few months, especially in terms of sales in the French market, which is the main buyer of exported goods from Catalan companies and receives 16% of the Autonomous Community's total exports. Nevertheless, the Catalonian Chamber of Commerce expects that the exports of goods and services, including tourism, could increase up to 5.9%.
Until the end of May of this year, exports in Catalonia have grown by 2.2%, compared to the situation registered a year ago. However, the Chamber of Commerce explained that this does not take services into account, including tourism, which is doing extremely well in Catalonia, emphasised Valls.
The increase of the exportation activity in the Catalan economy has, in turn, increased the number of companies based in the Autonomous Community which sell their products abroad.
Thus, whilst in 2008 the number of companies in Catalonia reaching the international market stood at just 34,000, at the end of 2013 this figure had grown to 49,000, a 43% increase. This situates Catalonia as the most important area in Spain in terms of exports, ahead of the Madrid region, which has 41,000 internationalised companies.
Amongst the Catalan internationalised companies, those who have been the most active in the increase of foreign sales are the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs), which show a growth in exports of 2%. In contrast, the large companies, which form the top 100 exporting businesses in Catalonia and provide around 46% of the exports, have seen international sales fall by 4%.
Consumption as an important contribution to recovery
Yet this improvement in economic activity does not only affect the field of external demand, but also it has had and will have an impact on consumption and investment within Catalonia, which will also accelerate the recovery pace.
Private consumption currently stands at just above 2% and the growth of productive investment is about to compensate the negative impact that the collapse of the construction sector has had in Catalonia. However, public consumption has not seen any growth; the result of the Autonomous Community's compliance with the deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government.