Spanish Economy Beats Expectations – Just

Spain’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 2.5% in 2023 according the latest figures from the INE state statistics agency, showing the size of the Spanish economy at 1.462 billion Euros.

The figure is slightly above expectations from the government´s own forecasts as well as those from the Bank of Spain, the OECD and the European Commission.

The figures represent the third year of consecutive growth since the pandemic, albeit down from the post Covid bounce of 6.4% in 2021 and 5.8% in 2022.

According to the figures, Spain’s economy grew much faster than its European neighbours. It grew five times faster than the eurozone and the European Union (0.5%, according to Eurostat data) and far outpaced major powers such as France (0.9%), Italy (0.7%) and Germany (-0.3%), which were more affected by the energy crisis.

Domestic demand proved to be the main motor of Spanish growth making up nearly two thirds of the total while Spain´s main industry of tourism brought in 85 million visitors and the bulk of the remainder.

The Spanish tourism sector represents around 13% of Spain´s GDP worth some 187 billion Euros. The government hailed the “good progress of the economy” with Minister Carlos Cuerpo saying that: “in contrast to the catastrophic predictions and biased stories, the figures are clear and indisputable.” He went on to state that 21 million people also registered with the social security system last year and inflation has dropped by eight points in just a year and a half, after the peak in the summer of 2022 when inflation reached 10.8%.

However, the positive figures are a stark contrast to the day-to-day economy of Spaniards, which are facing pressure from rising prices. In terms of purchasing power, Spain is still below the EU average and has yet to recover its pre-pandemic level, according to GDP per capita data published on Tuesday by Eurostat. In 2023 Spain reached a level of 89% of the EU measure (100), after reducing the gap by three points compared to 2022, but still below the 91% it had in 2019.

Spain is 16th in the table. Despite gradual improvement in recent years, after falling to 83% in 2020, Spain is still below the pre-pandemic level of 91% in 2019 and far below the peak of 105% in 2006, before the global financial crisis.

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