The First Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño.María José López – Europa Press / Europa Press
The Government is confident that Spain will continue to grow strongly and that the level of daily economic activity and employment will return to the pre-pandemic level before the end of this year. This was detailed this Tuesday by the First Vice President and Minister of Economic Affairs, Nadia Calviño, who pointed out that the Executive maintains intact the GDP growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, of 6.5% and 7% respectively, as as announced in July. The advance in vaccination, the dynamism in investment and the recovery of private consumption are being the main protagonists of the recovery after the brutal hit last year, when activity plummeted 10.8%. “There is no precedent in our recent economic history for such a rapid recovery,” he stressed.
At the press conference after the Council of Ministers, Calviño explained that “2021 goes from less to more” and that already at the end of July, when the Government announced its previous forecasts, “all the indicators confirmed that the recovery was already in progress. March”. But one in particular has represented a before and after. “Vaccination has been a turning point,” stressed the vice president. The rate of immunization, above the average of the European Union, has been key to allowing the relaxation of restrictions and the gradual return of mobility, which in turn has given a boost to the tourism sector, one of the pillars of the Spanish economy and of the activities most affected by the health crisis. The increase in consumer spending, the return of foreign tourists and, above all, the recovery in investment spending have added fuel to the recovery.
The improvement in the situation is such that the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) this Tuesday revised the growth forecasts for Spain upwards, placing it at the head of advanced economies. The think tank of rich countries now predict an increase in gross domestic product (GDP) of 6.8% for this year, almost one percentage point higher than in the estimates published in May, and 6.6% in 2022 (three tenths more than previously anticipated). Calviño has mentioned that the update of the forecasts of the Paris-based organization supports the optimism of the Government, but has clarified that the Executive has preferred to be prudent due to a context in which uncertainty and volatility of the indicators continue to be protagonists. “Prudence is the word that guides our work in this area.”
Calviño has detailed that, after vaccination, the second pillar that is driving growth is the good evolution of consumption, which has taken off especially at the end of the second quarter with a faster pace in accommodation and restaurants. These data, together with the progressive reduction in uncertainty, suggest that the population is beginning to spend the savings impounded during the hardest part of the health crisis, a figure that the Government estimates at close to 50,000 million euros. It also foresees that after a Annus horribilis For tourism, in 2021 the sector’s GDP will partially recover and end the year at 50% of that of 2019, which was a record year for the activity.
But the differential factor with the previous financial crisis, has pointed out the first vice president, has been the “dynamism in investment”, which after the crash of 2008 stopped for six years in a row. In this case, “the rebound will already be this year”, and in 2022 levels higher than the precovid era will already be reached with the balm of European funds in the background. Employment will also, thanks to the cushion provided by the ERTEs, recover much faster – the Government estimates that the unemployment rate will drop to 14.1% next year, in line with previous July forecasts. Despite this, Calviño has clarified that it will be necessary to be “very attentive” to prices, installed on an upward path due to the increase in cost of energy products at the international level.
The update of the macro table has been presented this Tuesday in the Council of Ministers in view of the draft General State Budgets that the Executive intends to approve next week or the next, and which will include a new item of European funds. The Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, already assured this week that the negotiations with the parliamentary groups “are progressing at an adequate pace”, which allows her to trust that the accounts will be approved within the established deadlines.