Catalan chemists have already received 74% of the pending arrears

November 21, 2013 03:07 PM | ACN

The Catalan Chemists’ Professional Association, in charge of distributing the money from partially-subsidised prescribed drugs, has already received €309 million of the €416 million arrears payments due.The Professional Association announced the “immediate distribution” of the money received. Two weeks ago, Catalan chemists went on strike for these arrears, urging the Catalan and Spanish Governments to issue the payments. In theory the Catalan Executive is in charge of paying them, but to do so it needs a previous transfer from the Spanish Government. The necessary transfers from Madrid have been arriving intermittently over the last year and on many occasions with considerable delay. For these reasons, chemists protested on the 7th November in front of the Spanish Government’s Delegation in Barcelona.

Catalan Government’s budget for 2014 to have a 1% deficit, more social spending and further privatisations

November 5, 2013 11:40 PM | ACN / Gaspar Pericay Coll

The Catalan Government has presented its budget proposal for 2014, which posts a 1% deficit, representing a 35.5% annual reduction and amounting to €1.98 billion, in line with the 2014 deficit targets imposed by the Spanish Government. The budget prioritises healthcare, education and social policies, which represent 71% of the total non-financial spending. Non-financial spending grows by 0.2% and reaches €20.30 billion, while the total spending amounts to €29.31 billion. The Catalan Finance Minister stressed that spending had not been reduced this year since in the last 3 years it had already dropped by 22%. Budget cuts “have reached their limit”, as otherwise “social cohesion” and “the Welfare State” would “be at risk” he said. In 2014 the Catalan Executive will spend the same per inhabitant as it was doing in 2004 taking into account inflation (€1,901).The adjustment for 2014 focuses on increasing revenue by €3.2 billion, mostly through new taxes (€910 million) and the sales of assets and privatisations (€2.32 billion). On top of this, the Catalan Government forecasts a 0.9% economic growth for 2014, leaving behind the recession of 2012 (-1.2%) and 2013 (-1.1%).

Catalonia’s GDP to grow by 0.9% in 2014 with a 23.1% unemployment rate according to Catalan Government

November 5, 2013 10:36 PM | ACN

The Catalan Government has forecasted a 0.9% economic growth for 2014 in its budget proposal for next year, leaving behind the recession of 2012 (-1.2%) and 2013 (-1.1%). The positive figures are mostly due to the strength of the export sector – which will continue to improve its results. The main factor slowing down growth will be the internal demand, which will continue to decrease although it will do so at a lower pace. In addition, the Catalan Executive believes the unemployment rate will decrease and reach 23.1% by the end of the year. It is expected 2013 will end with a 23.7% unemployment rate, higher than the 22.6% rate registered at the end of 2012.

Catalonia leaves recession behind and posts 0.1% quarterly growth in September

October 30, 2013 10:03 PM | ACN

According to the Catalan Institute of Statistics (Idescat), Catalonia’s economy grew by 0.1% between July and September. For the first time in 9 quarters, the Catalan economy is growing again, leaving behind the technical recession. However, in annual terms, Catalonia’s GDP has not recovered yet and at the end of September it posted a 0.6% decrease on data from September 2012. Besides, the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE) confirmed that the Spanish Economy also grew by 0.1% in the third quarter of the year, a figure which had been advanced last week by the Bank of Spain. In annual terms, the Spanish economy dropped by 1.2% compared to data from September 2012.

Foreign nationals are leaving Catalonia as amount of job opportunities dries up

September 20, 2013 05:47 PM | Julian Scully

Following a decade of significant increases in the amount of foreign nationals in Catalonia, it appears that many are beginning to leave as job opportunities dry up. In 2000, the percentage of foreign nationals living in Catalonia was 2.9%, while just over a decade later in 2011 this figure had increased to 15.73%. However, in the past couple of years the amount is beginning to reduce: between 2009 and 2013, 44,000 foreign nationals left Catalonia. According to the Spokesperson of non-governmental organisation SOS Racisme, Jose Peñín, immigrants are leaving as “they have less stable contracts and work in more abusive conditions”.

The Catalan Society of Paediatrics denies that children in Catalonia suffer from food deprivation due to economic reasons

August 12, 2013 09:40 PM | ACN

Last week, the Catalan Ombudsman issued a report stating that 4% of children in Catalonia under the age of 16 suffer from food deprivation (50,000 children) and he linked it to the current economic crisis. The Primary Care section of the Catalan Society of Paediatrics refutes the Ombudsman’s report warning that the known cases of undernourished children in Catalonia are due to illness and not to financial problems. They stated there are 750 children with food deprivation and most of whom have chronic diseases that cause malnutrition, such as metabolic disorders, neoplasia or anorexia nervosa. They emphasise that nowadays it is incorrect to talk about children with food deprivation in Catalonia for economic reasons, but they are concerned about the future.

The Catalan economy stops the fall of GDP and records a 0.0% growth during the second quarter of 2013

August 7, 2013 08:53 PM | ACN

According to data released by the Catalan Finance Ministry, the Catalan economy has stopped the fall in GDP during the second quarter of 2013, since it remained at the same rate of the previous quarter. There has been a slow strengthening of the Catalan economy over the last few months: the fourth quarter of 2012 saw a reduction of 0.7%, the first quarter of 2013 GDP only shrunk by 0.1% and during the second quarter it remained stable at 0% growth. The improvement has been due to the industrial sector, particularly thanks to the exportation of goods which made up for the sustained falling of domestic demand. However, compared to the same figures for last year, the Catalan economy decreased by 1.3%.

The Spanish Government imposes a 1.58% deficit target for Catalonia and €2.6 billion of further budget cuts

July 31, 2013 11:38 PM | ACN

The Catalan Finance Minister, Andreu Mas-Colell, accuses the Spanish Government of “asphyxiating” the Autonomous Communities. The 1.58% deficit target imposed to the Catalan Government represents €2.6 billion of further budget adjustment compared to last year’s budget, which ended with a 1.96% deficit. Mas-Colell denounced that the Spanish Executive is “keeping for itself the greatest share of the deficit pie”, while it is only responsible for 50% of Spain’s public spending. The Spanish Government is setting itself a deficit target of 5.2% for 2013 and most of the flexibility allowed by the European Union, which authorised a 6.5% deficit for Spain’s total public sector. Meanwhile, the Autonomous Communities have a deficit target 4 times stricter, although they manage 36% of Spain’s total public spending as well as basic services such as healthcare and education.

Catalonia’s GDP grew by 0.1% during second quarter of 2013 according to Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce

July 31, 2013 11:02 PM | ACN

Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce has presented the results of the economic situation of Catalonia during the second quarter of the year. It is estimated that GDP rose by 0.1% on the second quarter, following 18 months of negative growth. President of the Chamber, Miquel Valls, attributes this increase to a new economic model based upon high levels of tourism and exportation, which has boosted activity in the industrial sector. Regarding outlook for the third quarter, the Chamber expects this growth to continue which will improve the business climate within Catalonia.

The Catalan Government sells 13 buildings to AXA Real Estate for €172 million to reduce public deficit

June 26, 2013 01:15 AM | CNA

The Catalan Government will continue to occupy the facilities as a tenant, annually paying €16.2 million in rent over the next 20 years. The decision to sell Catalan Government properties had been taken to ease the difficult financial situation and obtain liquidity. The initiative is part of the austerity measures adopted to reduce the public deficit and increase revenue. Taking this last sale into account, the Catalan Government will have sold 17 properties for a total of €266 million since 2012. The Catalan Minister for the Presidency, Francesc Homs, emphasised that the revenue generated by these sales will allow the Government to undertake fewer budget cuts.

CaixaBank and Barcelona's Chamber of Commerce to offer €3 billion in loans for member companies

May 23, 2013 01:33 AM | CNA

In a situation of difficult access to credit by Catalan and Spanish companies, Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce and the main Spanish bank – which is based in the Catalan capital – have agreed to open a new credit line for the 25,000 private companies (small, medium-sized and large) and independent workers affiliated to the Chamber’s ‘Club Cambra’. In January 2012 they created the first credit fund with €2 billion. Now, a total of €3 billion will be available, of which €1 billion will be for internationalisation projects. CaixaBank’s President, Isidre Fainé, and the President of the Chamber, Miquel Valls, signed the new agreement on Wednesday.

The Catalan Government ended the first quarter of 2013 with a deficit of 0.21%

May 17, 2013 12:09 AM | CNA

Between January and March, the Catalan Government had a budget deficit of €411 million, representing 0.21% of Catalonia’s GDP. The definitive deficit target for 2013 for each Autonomous Community has not been set by the Spanish Government yet. Madrid set a 1.2% target a few weeks ago but everybody assumes it will be raised as negotiations are on-going with the Catalan Government. Rumours indicate that Catalonia’s deficit target may finally be set at around 1.8%. The Autonomous Communities posted a total public deficit of €1.24 billion at the end of the first quarter, corresponding to 0.12% of Spain’s GDP. According to the Spanish Deputy Minister for Budget, the figure represents half the deficit posted in the same period last year.

In March Catalonia registered the lowest level of housing sales since 2007

May 14, 2013 12:42 AM | CNA

In March, 2,750 flats and houses were sold in Catalonia, 13.9% less than a year ago in the same month. 32.5% were newly built homes and 67.5% were second hand ones. The previous worst month of the economic crisis had been December 2011, when 2,778 housing units were sold. However, the results from March represent the lowest level of housing sales since January 2007. The reasons behind this drop are the economic recession and the crisis of the real estate sector. In the whole of Spain, housing sales dropped by 12.6% compared to a year ago, with 22,086 flats and houses sold. However, at a Spanish level, the worst month in the last few years is still April 2012, when 21,551 housing units were sold.

Catalan economy contraction slows down and drops by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2013

May 10, 2013 11:27 PM | CNA

Catalonia’s GDP decreased by 0.3% between January and March 2013, while the Spanish economy dropped by 0.7% in the same period. The Catalan figure represents a more gentle drop compared to the last quarter of 2012, when the Catalan economy plummeted by 0.7%. However, looking at the annual figures, results from March 2013 represent a 1.9% drop compared to March 2012. Exports and tourism are the main economic engines. However, the improvement is also due to the fact that domestic consumption continued to post negative figures but they were still better than in the previous months. The data are early estimations calculated by the Catalan Statistics Institute (Ideascat) and the Catalan Economy Ministry, released on Friday.

The Catalan Banc Sabadell to acquire the Banco Gallego

April 18, 2013 01:07 AM | CNA

The offer, presented by Banc Sabadell, has won the tender for the acquisition of Banco Gallego, which was nationalised and owned by the Spanish Fund for Orderly Bank Restructuring (FROB). Banco Gallego was partially owned by Novagalicia Banco, the private bank resulting from Nova Caixa Galicia. The FROB has announced its decision although it also explained that the final details are still “being negotiated”. In the last year and a half, Banc Sabadell has bought the former Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo, the business activity of Caixa Penedès (part of Banco Mare Nostrum) and now Banco Gallego.