Economy of Ceuta

Economy of Spain
Rank 13th (nominal) / 13th (PPP)
Currency 1 Euro = 100 eurocent
Fiscal year Calendar year
Trade organizations EU, WTO and OECD
GDP €1.063 trillion ($1.340 trillion)(2011)[1]
GDP growth -0.9% (2012)[2]
GDP per capita

$29,156 (PPP) (cia)

Nominal GDP = 30,124 (USD) ¡
GDP by sector agriculture (2.3%), energy (2.3%), industry (11.7%), construction (10.0%), services (66.6%) (December 2009)[1]
Inflation (CPI) 2.9% (December 2012)[2]
Gini coefficient 34.0 (2011)[3]
Labour force 22.9 million (December 2012)[2]
Labour force
by occupation
services (70.7%), industry (14.1%), construction (9.9%), agriculture, farming and fishing (4.5%), energy (0.7%) (September 2009)[1]
Unemployment 26.83%
(4,890,7928 people) (May 2013)[4][5]
Average net salary 18,679 € ($24,293.98) yearly[6]
Main industries machine tools, metals and metal manufactures, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, automobiles, Tourism,[7][8] textiles and apparel (including footwear), food and beverages.
Ease of Doing Business Rank 44th[9]
Exports €248.9 billion ($341.6 billion) F.O.B. (2009)[1]
Export goods Machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, shipbuilding, foodstuffs, electronic devices, pharmaceuticals and medicines, other consumer goods
Main export partners  France 16.8%
 Germany 10.8%
 Italy 7.7%
 Portugal 7.1%
 United Kingdom 6.5% (2012 est.)[10]
Imports €270.4 billion ($371.1 billion) (October 2009)[1]
Import goods Fuels, chemicals, semi-finished goods, foodstuffs, consumer goods, measuring and medical control instruments, machinery and equipment
Main import partners  Germany 11.8%
 France 11.5%
 Italy 6.7%
 China 5.6%
 Netherlands 5.4%
 United Kingdom 4.1% (2012 est.)[11]
FDI stock $649.9 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
Gross external debt $2.166 trillion (30 June 2010)
Public finances
Public debt 63.4% of GDP (2010 est.)
Revenues $515.8 billion (2010 est.)
Expenses $648.6 billion (2010 est.)
Credit rating
Foreign reserves $34.375 billion (April 2011)[14]

All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars

Spain has the thirteenth largest economy by nominal GDP in the world, and fourteenth largest by purchasing power parity. The Spanish economy is the fifth-largest in the European Union, and the fourth-largest in the Eurozone, based on nominal GDP statistics. In 2012, Spain was the eighteenth-largest exporter in the world and the sixteenth-largest importer.

Spain is regarded as the world's 23rd most developed country and is listed among the countries of very high human development.[15] However, since the GFC, the Spanish economy's recent macroeconomic performance has been poor. Between 2008 and 2012, the economic boom of the 2000s was reversed, leaving over a quarter of Spain's workforce unemployed by 2012.[16][17] In 2012, the Spanish economy contracted by 1.4% and was in recession until Q3 of 2013.[18]

Despite the poor recent performance of the Spanish economy generally, Spain's international trade situation has improved. In May 2013, Spain had a € 2.19 billion trade surplus with the rest of the European Union and a narrowing trade deficit globally, with exports rising 7.3% year-on-year in May of the same year.[19]

Spain is a member of the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Trade Organisation.

Recent developments

After a strong recovery from the global recession of the early 1990s, Spain experienced a property boom from 1997 to 2007. At its peak in 2007, construction had expanded to a massive 16% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and 12% of total employment.

According to calculations by the German newspaper Die Welt, Spain's economy had been on course to overtake countries like Germany in per capita income by 2011.[20] However, the downside of the real estate boom was a corresponding rise in the levels of personal debt; as prospective homeowners had struggled to meet asking prices, the average level of household debt tripled in less than a decade. This placed especially great pressure upon lower to middle income groups; by 2005 the median ratio of indebtedness to income had grown to 125%, due primarily to expensive boom time mortgages that now often exceed the value of the property.[21]

A European Commission forecast had predicted Spain would enter a recession by the end of 2008.[22] According to Spain's Economy Minister, "Spain faces its deepest recession in half a century".[23] Spain's government forecast the unemployment rate would rise to 16% in 2009. The ESADE business school predicted 20%.[24]

Due to its own economic development and the recent EU enlargements up to 28 members (2007), Spain had a GDP per capita of (105%) of EU average per capita GDP in 2006, which placed it slightly ahead of Italy (103%). Three regions were included in the leading EU group exceeding 125% of the GDP per capita average level: Basque Country leading with Madrid and Navarre.[25] According to the growth rates post 2006, noticeable progress from these figures happened until early 2008, when the 'global financial crisis' burst Spain's property bubble.[26]

The centre-right government of former prime minister José María Aznar had worked successfully to gain admission to the group of countries launching the euro in 1999. Unemployment stood at 7.6% in October 2006, a rate that compared favorably to many other European countries, and especially with the early 1990s when it stood at over 20%. Perennial weak points of Spain's economy include high inflation,[27] a large underground economy,[28] and an education system, beside UK and the United States, which OECD reports place among the poorest for developed countries.[29]

The property bubble that had begun growing in 1997, fed by historically low interest rates and an immense surge in immigration, imploded in 2008, leading to a weakening economy and soaring unemployment.

Growing reduction of European Union funds

Capital contributions from the EU, which contributed significantly to economic empowerment Spanish enjoyed since joining the EEC, decreased considerably in recent 20 years due to economic standardization in relation to other countries and the effects of EU enlargement. On the one hand, agricultural funds the Common Agricultural Policy of the European Union (CAP) is spread across more countries (the Eastern Europe countries have a significant agricultural sector).

On the other, the structural and cohesion funds have declined inevitably due to the Spanish economic success (since their income has progressed strongly in absolute terms) and due to the incorporation of less developed countries, lowers the average income per capita (or GDP per capita), so that Spanish regions relatively less developed, have come to be in the European average or even above it. Spain gradually becomes net contributor of funds for less developed countries of the Union.[30]

2008–2013 economic and financial crisis

Main article: 2008–2012 Spanish financial crisis

Spain continued on the path of economic growth when the ruling party changed in 2004, maintaining robust GDP growth during the first term of prime minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, even though some fundamental problems in the Spanish economy were now becoming clearly evident. Among these, according to the Financial Times, was Spain's rapidly growing trade deficit, which had reached a staggering 10% of the country's GDP by the summer of 2008,[31] the "loss of competitiveness against its main trading partners" and, also, as a part of the latter, an inflation rate which had been traditionally higher than the one of its European partners, back then especially affected by house price increases of 150% from 1998 and a growing family indebtedness (115%) chiefly related to the Spanish Real Estate boom and rocketing oil prices.[32]

In 2011 the deficit reached 8.5%. In 2012 that percentage is expected to lower to 5.3% due to a set of tough reforms in the autonomous regions and central government, they begin to meet the objectives. Despite the difficulties, it is expected that the deficit will reach 3.3% in 2013.[33]

The Spanish government official GDP growth forecast for 2008 in April was 2.3%. This figure was successively revised down by the Spanish Ministry of Economy to 1.6.[34] This figure looked better than those of most other developed countries. In reality, this rate effectively represented stagnant GDP per capita due to Spain's high population growth, because of a high rate of immigration. Retrospective studies by most independent forecasters estimate that the rate had actually dropped to 0.8% instead,[35] far below the strong 3% plus GDP annual growth rates during the 1997–2007 decade. Then, during the third quarter of 2008 the national GDP contracted for the first time in 15 years and, in February 2009, it was confirmed that Spain, along other European economies, had officially entered recession.[36]

In July 2009, the IMF worsened the estimates for Spain's 2009 contraction, to minus 4% of GDP for the year (close to the European average of minus 4.6%), besides, it estimated a further 0.8% contraction of the Spanish economy for 2010.[37] The estimation of the IMF was proven to be somewhat too pessimistic, as Spain's GDP sank less than that of most advanced economies in 2009 and by the first quarter of 2010 had already emerged from the recession.

In 2008 the total Spanish public debt (government debt) relative to the total GDP was well below the European Union average, and in fact the government budget was in surplus. In 2012, public debt increased to 90.69% of GDP. Although this remains lower than other European countries such as Italy, Spain's financial problems stem from private debt equivalent to well over 200% of GDP.[38]

Spanish banking system

The Spanish banking system has been credited as one of the most solid of all western banking systems in coping with the ongoing worldwide liquidity crisis, thanks to the country's conservative banking rules and practices. Banks are required to have high capital provisions and to demand various guarantees and securities from intending borrowers. This has allowed the banks, particularly the geographically and industrially diversified large banks like BBVA and Santander, to weather the real estate deflation better than expected. Indeed, these banks have been able to capitalise on their strong position to buy up distressed banking assets elsewhere in Europe and in the United States.[39]

Nevertheless, with the unprecedented crisis of the country's housing crisis, smaller local savings banks ("caja") that representing a little portion of banking system, are known to have delayed the registering of bad loans, especially those backed by houses and land, to avoid declaring losses. This has occurred despite the fact that these credits are backed by the borrower's present and future assets.

CCM (Caja Castilla la Mancha), is still the only local savings bank to have suffered a run by depositors. The central bank Banco de España (equivalent of the US Federal Reserve) forcibly took over CCM to prevent its financial collapse.[40] PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated an imbalance between CCM's assets and debts of €3,500 million, not counting the industrial corporation. There were errors leading to the present situation. On 22 May 2010, the Banco de España took over another "caja", CajaSur, as part of a national program to put the country's smaller banks on a firm financial basis.[41]

In early June 2012, Spain requested European funding of 100 billion euros "to recapitalize Spanish banks that need it", is not a "rescue" because a real rescue, would reach ten or twelve times that amount. In return for aid, there shall be no tax or macroeconomic conditions. The interest from the loan would pay the banks themselves. This plan will be overseen by the IMF, which would not place any money. According to the statement of European Ministers of Finance, the Eurogroup will closely monitor "the correction of economic imbalances." The news of funding led to a rise in risk premium Spanish to very high levels and a strong fall of the stock exchange in Madrid in June and July 2012. It was definitely an overreaction of the markets, according to what rightly stated by the Spanish economy minister. It almost certainly will come some very strong reactions from the markets, nevertheless in the medium term despite all these financial reactions must moderate and the economic performance of Spain and Europe should return to normal and growth.[42][43]

Further information: Savings bank (Spain)

The Euro debt crisis

Main article: European sovereign debt crisis

In the first weeks of 2010, renewed anxiety about the excessive levels of debt in some EU countries and, more generally, about the health of the euro has spread from Ireland and Greece to Portugal, and to a lesser extent in Spain and Italy.

Many economists recommended a battery of policies to control the surging public debt caused by the recessionary collapse of tax revenues, combining drastic austerity measures with higher taxes. Some senior German policy makers went as far as to say that emergency bailouts should include harsh penalties to EU aid recipients such as Greece.[44] It has been noted that the Spanish government budget was in surplus in the years immediately before the GFC and that its debt was not considered excessive.

At the beginning of 2010, Spain's public debt as a percentage of GDP was still less than those of Britain, France or Germany. However, commentators pointed out that Spain's recovery was fragile, that the public debt was growing quickly, that troubled regional banks may need large bailouts, growth prospects were poor and therefore limiting revenue and that the central government has limited control over the spending of the regional governments. Under the structure of shared governmental responsibilities that has evolved since 1975, much responsibility for spending had been given back to the regions. The central government found itself in the difficult position of trying to gain support for unpopular spending cuts from the recalcitrant regional governments.[45]

On 23 May 2010, the government announced further austerity measures, consolidating the ambitious plans announced in January.[46]

As of September 2011, Spanish banks hold a record high of 142 billion Euros of Spanish national bonds. December 2011 bond auctions are "very likely to be covered" according to JPMorgan Chase.[47]

Till Q2 2012, Spanish banks were allowed to report real estate related assets in higher non-market price by regulators. Investors who bought into such banks must be aware. Such Spain houses can not sell at land value on book after being vacant over years.

Employment crisis

As for employment, a longtime weakness of the Spanish economy, after having completed large improvements over the second half of the 1990s and during the 2000s (decade), which put a few regions on the brink of full employment, Spain suffered a severe setback from October 2008, when it saw its unemployment rate surging to 1996 levels. During the period October 2007 – October 2008 Spain had its unemployment rate climbing 37%, exceeding the unemployment surge of past economic crises like 1993. In particular, during the month of October 2008, Spain feared its worst unemployment rise ever recorded and,[49] so far, the country is suffering a big unemployment crisis.[50]

By July 2009, it had shed 1.2 million jobs in one year.[51] Spain's unemployment rate hit 17.4% at the end of March, with two million people lost their jobs; with the oversized building and housing related industries contributing greatly to the rising unemployment numbers.[48] In this same month, Spain had over 4,000,000 people unemployed,[52] an especially shocking figure even for a country which had become used to grim unemployment data.[48] Since 2009 thousands of established immigrants began to leave, although some that did continued to maintain homes in Spain due to poor conditions in their country of origin.[53]

In May 2012 began a radical labor reform that make more flexible labor market and facilitates the layoffs. The Minister for Employment and Social Security, Fátima Báñez, said in 19 June 2012, that labor reform promoted by the Government has allowed reached in a short time, 32,500 contracts for entrepreneurs, of which over 50% has gone to young people.

According to the minister, this data, together with the agreement of payment to suppliers of public administrations, shows that "labor reform is already starting to work." Said that the measures determined that the dismissal will become the "last resort" and that the increase in employment and labor flexibility are the "priority".

The minister stressed that "today the companies can agree with the workers to overcome the crisis through measures of flexibility, reduced working hours and wage moderation, before the dismissal." According to Báñez, reforms and adjustments made by the Spanish Government are beginning to create a situation of economic growth, "creating jobs", while measures are "rationalization and austerity" in public spending, will show growth employment in the coming months.[54]


Due to the lack of own resources, Spain has to import all of its fossil fuels. In a scenario of record prices this means adding much pressure to the inflation rate. In June 2008 the inflation rate reached a 13-year high at 5.00%. Then, with the dramatic decrease of oil prices that took place in the second half of 2008 plus the manifest bursting of the real estate bubble, concerns quickly shifted over to the risk of deflation, as Spain recorded in January 2009 its lowest inflation rate in 40 years, followed shortly afterwards, in March 2009 by a negative inflation rate for the first time since the gathering of these statistics started.[55][56]

Economic strengths

Since the 1990s some Spanish companies have gained multinational status, often expanding their activities in culturally close Latin America. Spain is the second biggest foreign investor there, after the United States. Spanish companies too have expanded into Asia, especially China and India.[57] This early global expansion is a competitive vantage over its competitors and European neighbors. The reason may primarily due to the booming interest toward Spanish language and culture in Asia and Africa, but also a corporate culture that learned to take risks in unstable markets.

Spanish companies invested in fields like renewable energy commercialisation (Iberdrola is the world's largest renewable energy operator[58]), technology companies like Telefónica, Abengoa, Mondragon Corporation, Movistar, Gamesa, Hisdesat, Indra, train manufacturers like CAF, Talgo, global corporations such as the textile company Inditex, petroleum companies like Repsol and infrastructure, with six of the ten biggest international construction firms specialising in transport being Spanish, like Ferrovial, Acciona, ACS, OHL and FCC.[59]


In the 2012–2013 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report Spain was listed 10th in the world in terms of first-class infrastructure. It is the 5th EU country with best infrastructure and ahead of countries like Japan or the United States.[60] In particular, the country is a leader in the field of high-speed rail, having developed the secong longest network in the world (only behind China) and leading high-speed projects with Spanish technology around the world.[61][62]

The Spanish infrastructure concession companies, lead 262 transport infrastructure worldwide, representing 36% of the total, according to the latest rankings compiled by the publication Public Works Financing. The top three global occupy Spanish companies: ACS, Global Vía and Abertis, according to the ranking of companies by number of concessions for roads, railways, airports and ports in construction or operation in October 2012. Considering the investment, the first world infrastructure concessionaire is Ferrovial-Cintra, with 72,000 million euros, followed closely by ACS, with 70,200 million. Among the top ten in the world are also the Spanish Sacyr (21,500 million), FCC and Global Vía (with 19,400 million) and OHL (17,870 million).[63]

The port of Valencia in Spain is the busiest seaport in the Mediterranean basin, 5th busiest in Europe and 30th busiest in the world.[64] There are four other Spanish ports in the ranking of the top 100 busiest world seaports; as a result, Spain is tied with Japan in the third position of countries leading this ranking.[64]

Exports grow steadily

With growth of 17.4% to 185.799 million euros in sales, the export sector has recovered to pre-crisis levels, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry. With a contribution of 1.1% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the export sector has brought stability to the Spanish economy. The improvement in exports including emerging countries, has allowed the trade deficit is not increased because of rising global energy prices. The year 2011, Spain is among the countries with overall export growth, according to OECD forecasts. The international institution puts Spain in fifth place in the ranking, with estimated exports of goods and services 9.9%. Spain is placed after Germany and Slovakia, which will increase its sales abroad by 10.4%. [65] [66] [67]

Spain's trade deficit shrank in October 2011, 1.9% to 3.632 million euros, announced the Ministry of Economy. The Spanish exports grew 11.5% compared to October 2010, to reach 19.394 million euros, the statement said. The increases were highest in exports of capital goods, which rose 14.8% over the first ten months of 2010 and the automotive sector, up 14.3% in a year. Spain recorded a trade surplus in trade with the European Union (EU), of 3,043 million euros in the first ten months of the year. While domestic consumption shrank, its exports continued to grow despite the global slowdown. [68] The export sector will prolong its good performance in 2013 and the following. According to forecasts by the European Commission in its macroeconomic estimate, Spanish exports grow 4.2% in 2013. This is the highest rate in the European Union, which is estimated to lead Spain to reach a current surplus, equivalent to 1% of GDP in 2013 and 2.5% of GDP in 2014.[69]

Sectors of the economy


During the last four decades Spain's foreign tourist industry has grown into the second biggest in the world and was worth approximately 40 billion Euros, about 5% of GDP, in 2006.[70] The total value of foreign and domestic tourism came to nearly 11% of the country's GDP and provided employment for about 2 million people.[71] In August 2012 Spain beat its own record of monthly arrivals, having registered 7.9 million visitors.[72]

Automobile industry

The automobile industry in Spain is a large employer in the country, employing 9% of the total workforce in 2009 and contributing to 3.3% of the Spanish GDP, despite the decline due to the economic recession of the past couple of years. In 2009, Spain was in the top ten of the largest automobile producer countries in the world.[73]

Apart from its domestic brand SEAT, which is the major contributor to the automotive sector of the country, and Santana Motor, many suppliers and foreign car and truck makers – like Volkswagen, Nissan, Daimler Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Renault, GM/Opel, PSA Peugeot/Citroën, Iveco,... etc. – have facilities and plants in Spain today developing and producing vehicles and components, not only for the domestic market but also for export,[74] with the contribution of the automobile industry in 2008 rising up to 2nd place with 18% of the country's total exports.[75]


Further information: Energy in Spain and Electricity sector in Spain

In 2008, Spanish electricity consumption was an average of 6,523 kWh/person. Spanish electricity usage constituted 88% of the EU15 average (EU15: 7,409 kWh/person), and 73% of the OECD average (8,991 kWh/person).[76]

References and notes

External links

  • Spanish Banks Review
  • Comprehensive current and historical economic data

Statistical resources

  • Banco de España (Spanish Central Bank); features the latest and in depth statistics
  • Statistical Institute of Andalusia
  • National Institute of Statistics
  • Statistical Institute of Catalonia
  • Statistical Institute of Galicia
  • OECD Economic Survey of Spain

Further reading

  • Article: Investing in Spain by Nicholas Vardy – September 2006. A global investor's discussion of Spain's economic boom.
  • The Pain in Spain: On May Day, Nearly 1 in 5 are Jobless by Andrés Cala, The Christian Science Monitor, 1 May 2009
  • Center for Economic and Policy Research, July 2010
  • The Catalan economy in the European context
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