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Political instability doesn’t seem to have affected the Catalan economy

January 27, 2016 06:41 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce estimates that the Catalan economy grew by 3.2% in 2015, which is more than double the figure for 2014 and marks a return to pre-crisis levels, when the GDP increased by 1.5%. To “keep on advancing on the path of economic recovery” and to respond to Catalonia’s push for independence and “guarantee the territorial stability”, the president of Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls, called for “the widest consensus possible” amongst the main parties with representation in the Spanish Parliament. He also emphasised the “fundamental” need to keep the relationship and the compromises established with the EU, as the 40-billion-euros rescue package for the banks in Spain led to the recovery of the risk premium and brought back the trust in the Spanish market.

Catalan exports grew by 5% and set a new record

November 19, 2015 01:03 PM | ACN / Sara Prim

Catalan exports were worth more than 15,500 million euros in the third quarter, representing a record 5% increase over the same period last year. From January to September, the amount of sales abroad by Catalan companies was worth 47,567 million euros, 6.29% more than in the same period last year. The leading sector in terms of exports during the first nine months of the year was the chemical sector, which was worth 12,662 million euros and increased by 6.1% compared to the same period last year. Capital goods came second in the ranking, totalling 8,015 million euros. However, the sector which grew the most was the automobile industry, increasing by 16% in comparison to the first nine months of 2014. In Spain as a whole, exports grew by 4.4% from January to September and also set a historic figure.

Economic growth in Catalonia slows to a 0.9% quarterly increase in June

August 6, 2015 09:48 PM | ACN

The Catalan GDP increased by 0.9% between April and June this year, which is a positive figure but slightly lower than the 1.1% rate registered during the first quarter. However, in annual terms, the Catalan economy grew by 3% in the year to June, which is more than the 2.6% annual growth registered in March. Such a high level of annual growth had not been registered since September 2007, before the financial crisis started. According to the Catalan Finance Ministry, the minor fall off in growth registered between April and June compared to the growth rate from January to March is due to the "extraordinary" 1.1% growth rate of the first quarter. The Ministry stressed that 0.9% growth is still a very positive rate and does not break the trend of the economic recovery, on the contrary proving its strength.

Economy of Catalonia grew 3.5% in annual terms in June, above 3.1% Spanish average

July 30, 2015 06:06 PM | ACN

Catalonia's GDP increased by 3.5% between June 2014 and June 2015 and was the Autonomous Community with the third-highest level of economic growth, leading Spain's economic recovery.  Spain as a whole grew at a 3.1% annual rate in the same period, according to figures released on Thursday by the Spanish Independent Fiscal Authority (Airef). Ahead of Catalonia in terms of GDP growth are the Balearic Islands – with 4% growth – and the Valencian Country (also called Valencian Community) – with growth of 3.9%. They are followed by Catalonia (3.5%), the Canary Islands (3.4%) and the Madrid region (3.2%). According to these figures, the eastern part of Spain has been the most dynamic during the last few months, and Catalonia, which is the wealthiest Autonomous Community and has one of the highest growth rates, is the region contributing the most in absolute terms.

Barcelona Chamber of Commerce worried about economic situation after Catalan elections

July 29, 2015 10:10 PM | ACN

The President of Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce Miquel Valls has recognised that there is "an important concern" among many business owners about Catalonia's self-determination process and the economic consequences resulting from the forthcoming Catalan Parliament elections, scheduled for 27 September and which will be transformed into a 'de facto' plebiscite on independence. A few months ago, Valls presented a report from the Chamber of Commerce stating that the self-determination process of the last few years had not affected the economy, as exports, tourism and direct foreign investment were growing at a higher rate in Catalonia than in the rest of Spain. However, as the 'de facto' plebiscite approaches and the political landscape becomes more uncertain due to the independence road map and threats from Spanish institutions, business owners are increasingly worried. In this vein, Valls urged the political parties to detail their economic proposals for after the September elections.

Economy grew 1.1% during first quarter in Catalonia and 0.9% in Spain as a whole

June 19, 2015 09:39 PM | ACN

Catalonia's GDP has increased by 1.1% during the first quarter of the year compared to the last quarter of 2014, while the Spanish economy grew by 0.9% and that of the European Union by 0.5%, according to definitive figures released by the Catalan Statistics Instituted (Idescat) on Friday. In annual terms, Catalonia's economy increased by 2.6% from March 2014 to March 2015, mostly due to the positive evolution of domestic demand and the strength of the export sector. The figures released this Friday improve upon the provisional data that had been announced in May for the first term of 2015, when it was stated that Catalonia’s economy had grown by 0.9% from January to March. With the 1.1% growth finally registered, Catalonia now accumulates 8 consecutive terms of quarterly growth.

IMF recommends that Spain increase the fiscal capacity of regional governments

June 8, 2015 09:51 PM | ACN

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has reviewed and improved its economic growth forecasts for Spain, going from a 2.5% growth rate for 2015 forecast in April to a 3.1% one foreseen this June, and from 2% to 2.5% for 2016. However, the IMF has also issued recommendations and warnings, emphasising that Spain will have to carry out "additional fiscal efforts" and "structural reforms" in order not to jeopardise the country’s economic recovery. The IMF recommends that Spain reduce the costs of public healthcare and education by making users pay for part of the services. According to the international organisation, Autonomous Community governments – such as Catalonia's – should have greater fiscal responsibilities in such systems since they exclusively manage them. In this vein, the IMF has praised the fiscal consolidation efforts undertaken over the past few years by regional governments and has asked for an increase in their funding and fiscal powers, as well as for the adapting of the deficit targets to their needs.

Economic growth in Catalonia speeds up, increasing by 0.9% between January and March

May 7, 2015 09:34 PM | ACN

The Catalan economy has now accumulated 8 consecutive quarters of economic growth, posting a 0.9% increase in GDP between January and March, according to provisional data released on Thursday by the Catalan Finance Ministry and the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat). Regarding inter-annual figures, the Catalan economy had grown by 2.4% by the end of the first quarter of 2015 compared to figures from the same period in 2014. These last figures confirm a strengthening of inter-annual growth, since last December it reached 1.9%, and an overall strengthening of the Catalan economy and its recovery from the crisis of the last years. The recovery of the internal demand and the continuing good performance of the export and tourism sectors are the main engines behind the positive figures from the first quarter of 2015. In addition, the industrial sector has been growing for the last 3 years and construction has started to grow again after almost 7 years of continuous decline.

Better economic growth, 2.7% in 2015 and 3% in 2016, predicts Catalan Chamber of Commerce

April 30, 2015 09:14 PM | ACN

Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce has predicted that the Catalan economy will grow by 2.7% in 2015 and 3% in 2016. The latest estimates made by the Chamber in February foresaw a growth of 2.5% in the Catalan GDP for this year. The President of the Chamber of Commerce, Miquel Valls, said that this growth "has a lot to do with the surprising recovery of domestic demand, driven by job creation, and increased confidence in the economy." Valls also said that the depreciation of the euro and oil prices are factors that have contributed to the rise in GDP. Besides, the Spanish economy is expected to grow by 2.5% in 2015 according to the IMF or by 2.8% or 2.9% according to the Bank of Spain and the Spanish Government respectively.

Catalan economy grew by 1.5% in 2014, the best year since 2007

March 27, 2015 05:53 PM | ACN

The GDP of Catalonia increased by 1.5% during 2014, according to the definitive figures released by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat) on Friday. However, on the same day, the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE) published its economic growth figures for 2014 and announced that the Catalan economy had grown by 1.4% last year, the same rate as Spain. In any case, both figures are quite positive after many years of economic crisis and slowdown. In fact, 2014 has been the best year since 2007, when the Catalan economy grew by 3.2% according to the Idescat. The final figure for 2014 is higher than the provisional 1.2% growth rate previously announced. Following European Union instructions, the calculations for last year include R&D activities, as well as prostitution and trafficking of drugs and tobacco.

242,070 Catalans now living abroad: a 9.31% increase on 2014 figures

March 18, 2015 10:29 PM | ACN

The number of Catalans with Spanish nationality living abroad and registered with consulates rose by 9.31% between 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2015, according to data from the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE), which is a legally independent institution run by the Spanish Government. In early 2014, there were 221,444 Catalans living in a foreign country, while a year later this figure had risen to 242,070, thus registering a 20,626 person increase. Regarding Spain as a whole, on the 1 January 2015, there were 2,183,043 citizens living abroad and registered with consulates. This represents a 6.1% growth on the figures from January 2014, when there were 124,995 less Spaniards living abroad. 

Cosmopolitan Catalonia: a long history of attracting newcomers from worldwide

March 17, 2015 08:48 PM | Nell English

Catalonia has a long history with immigration, welcoming foreigners from all over the world has left it with a cosmopolitan and multicultural nature. In more recent years, immigration has been well-documented by the Catalan Government and official statistics, which show various patterns. The first wave of people arriving in Catalonia, especially in the industrial capital of Barcelona, were domestic immigrants from within Spain, while later many came from South America and Northern Africa. The recent economic crisis caused a lull in these figures, but the number of foreign nationals from Asia and Europe (especially Italy and the UK) has increased over more recent years. Conscious of the need for sustainable co-living, Catalonia taken pains to accommodate its diverse population and the ACN spoke to several people about their experience moving to Barcelona.

High technology exports from Catalonia increased by 6.1% in 2014

March 11, 2015 10:34 PM | ACN

Catalonia exported €56.87 billion worth of industrial products last year, which represents a 3.5% increase on 2013’s figures, according to data released on Wednesday by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat). The exports of high-technology products reached €5.58 billion, a 6.1% growth on figures from the previous year. These were also the type of product which experienced the greatest increase in exports during 2014, mostly thanks to sales from outside the European Union, which increased by 10.9%. Such an important boost also meant that sales outside the EU were larger than exports to other European Union Member States. The international sales of medium-high range products reached €28.27 billion, a 2.8% growth on 2013 figures.

Catalan economy grew by 1.2% in 2014, the best year since 2007

February 5, 2015 08:52 PM | ACN

Another positive figure has emerged to confirm the economic recovery after years of crisis. Catalonia’s GDP grew by 1.2% over the course of 2014, which are the best figures since 2007, before the financial crisis, according to early data released on Thursday by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Idescat) and the Catalan Finance Ministry. The figure is higher than the 0.9% economic growth foreseen in the Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 (approved in late 2013) but is lower than an early forecast made in March, when a 1.5% growth was predicted. Besides this growth in the Catalan economy, in Spain as a whole, the economy grew by 1.4%, according to early data released by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). Furthermore, the Catalan economy grew by 0.4% in the last quarter of 2014 compared to September figures and by 1.5% in annual terms. In the first, second, and third quarters it grew by 0.5%, 0.4%, and 0.3% respectively (in quarterly terms).

Retail sales grew in Catalonia in 2014, for the first time since 2007

January 29, 2015 11:30 PM | ACN

For the first time in 7 years, in 2014 Catalan shops increased their overall sales figures compared to the previous year, growing by 1.4%. Furthermore, the figures are even more positive looking at the sales in December, which grew by 7.4% compared to the same month in 2013, according to data released on Thursday by the Spanish Statistics Institute (INE). The Catalan figures are better than the Spanish average, both for 2014’s overall figures and for those from December. In Spain as a whole, retail increased by 0.9% last year and by 5.4% in December. The worst year for Catalonia’s retail sector was 2011, when sales dropped by 6.2% in annual terms. Other years, they stagnated, such as in 2010.