Spain’s Great Recession 2008-2014 Reply

youth unemployment protest

Curious about the Spanish economic crisis? This Wikipedia article will bring you quickly up to date. One of the most egregious consequences of the recession is the 50% youth unemployment rate.–The Great Recession in Spain[1][2] began in 2008 during the world financial crisis of 2007–08. In 2012 it made Spain a late participant in the European sovereign debt crisis when the country was unable to bailout its financial sector and had to apply for a €100 billion rescue package provided by the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). The main cause of Spain’s crisis was its enormous housing bubble and the accompanying artificial and unsustainably high GDP growth rate. One side effect was that ballooning tax revenues (from the artificially high GDP growth rate) concealed the Spanish government’s expenditures, which were unsustainably high, until 2007.[3] The Spanish government supported the critical development by relaxing supervision of the financial sector and thereby allowing the banks to violate International Accounting Standards Board standards. So the banks in Spain were able to hide losses and earnings volatility, mislead regulators, analysts, and investors, and thereby finance the Spanish real estate bubble.[4] The results of the crisis were devastating for Spain, including a strong economic downturn, a severe increase in unemployment, and bankruptcies of major companies.[5]



Spanish Winegrowers Reap Benefits of Chinese Booze Boom Reply

Priorat wine producers

Blend from Catalan vineyard is little known at home – but has just been named best in world by specialist Asian magazine

The–China’s wine market is one of the biggest in the world, with urban affluence having driven a decade of explosive growth in consumption. Now a small bodega in Spain stands to benefit from the Asian country’s huge economic firepower after one of its wines was named as the best in the world by a specialist Chinese magazine. “It was a complete surprise to us,” said Olívia Bayés, who with her husband, David Marco, runs Marco Abella in the mountains of the Catalan winemaking zone of Priorat. “They told us we had made it into the top 100 – we were really excited to get that far. Then they called us and told us to come to China because we had won the top prize.”

After more than six years pushing their products in China, the pair had entered Wine in China magazine’s blind-tasting competition in the hope of drumming up more business. The 14-member jury, made up of experts and sommeliers from China, Australia, the UK and US, gave top marks to the Marco Abella 2009 Clos Abella, awarding its blend of carignan, garnacha, cabernet sauvignon and shiraz grapes 97 points out of 100. The bottle retails for about €40-€50 (£30-£38) in Spain.


Marbella Gets an Art Fair, But Are Collectors Game? Reply

Puerto Banus Marbella

Lorena Muñoz Alonso writes for–Next summer, the Spanish city of Marbella will offer more than its usual sunny beaches, yacht parties, and luxury shopping opportunities. An art fair is about to hit town. The inaugural edition of Art Marbella will kick-off on July 30—and it’s already calling itself “the most important event of contemporary art in South Europe.”

The venture, set to gather 50 international galleries, is the brainchild of Alejandro Zaia, the Argentinian co-founder of the Latin American modern and contemporary art fairs PINTA New York (which relocated to Miami in its last edition), and PINTA London. Despite tapping the booming Latin American art market, PINTA London has tended to underperform, and there are rumors that it might be discontinued.

But Zaia has already found sunnier pastures, and has enlisted a curatorial committee—including Omar López-Chahoud, founder and director of the Miami art fair UNTITLED, and María Chiara Valacchi, director of Milan’s non-profit Spazio Cabinet—to help him with the fair’s first edition.


Spain Is World’s Top Exporter of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Reply

Spanish cherries export

Fresh–Spain is the world’s main exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2013 the Spanish export had a value of 10.5 billion Euro. This meant that Spain had a share of 13% in the total border crossing traffic of fresh fruits and vegetables. Last year Spain was number one in value for both fruits and vegetables worldwide. Spain knocked the Netherlands from pole position in fresh vegetables. As far as amounts are concerned Spain is the top fresh fruit exporters, with a volume of 7.2 million tonnes last year. In fresh vegetables Spain is third on the list, after Mexico and China (both 4.8 million tonnes) with an export of 4.4 million tonnes. Just ahead of the Netherlands with a (re)export of 4.3 million tonnes.

The amount of fresh fruits and vegetables traded internationally is still increasing. To around 110 million tonnes last year. Ten years ago this was still 80 million tonnes. The share of Spain was 11% in 2004, decreasing over the next few years to under 10% but then rising back to 11%. The global trade in fresh fruit has grown from 55 to 75 million tonnes in ten years. The share of Spain in this was in 10% in 2004, dropping and rising back to 11% after this.


Death to ¡Alegria!: New Intellectual Property Rights Legislation Changes the Game in Spain 2

Spain intellectual property

Editor’s note: ¡Alegria! had a near-death experience. Or so it seemed. New Spanish intellectual property rights legislation (the “Google tax”) imposes fines up to 600,000 euros for publishing excerpts from Spanish media online without compensating the original publisher.

This law came into effect on January 1, eight days ago, and it looked like the end for ¡Alegria! The Joy of Spanish Living. Because that’s mainly what we do. We curate and aggregate Spanish-related news and features, publishing quotes from the media then linking to the full stories online. We were close to deciding to close up shop when the youngest, least-experienced member of our team said: “Wait! That law only applies to the Spanish media, and only a small part of our content comes from Spanish publications. So all we have to do is cut out those articles and continue to march. That’s what Google did, eliminate the Spanish media from Google News.”

Here at ¡Alegria! we think that Spanish legislators, perhaps with an imperfect understanding of the Internet, have made a mistake with the new law, which was enacted with the sole votes of the right-wing Popular Party. We think the media worldwide have a symbiotic relationship with Google News and all the other search engines and news aggregators, insofar as it is these services that channel a great deal of traffic to the online media’s own sites.


Clive Martin for Eye-biza Almost Finishes Me Off Reply

Ibiza fun lovers

The Spanish text that accompanies the video refers to “a vacation destination for Anglo-Saxons avid for sunshine and venereal diseases…” The presenter refers, inevitably, to the Ibizan club scene, as “Sodom and Gomorrah,” but it seems to us that this version of Ibiza is to the biblical S&G what Walmart is to Harrods.–Clive Martin presents this video as part of the VICE/THUMP Big Night Out series. For some reason he refers to Ibiza as “Eye-biza,” a detail which sets the tone for the whole show. Ostensibly a program about night life on the Spanish island of Ibiza, this half-hour documentary is also a light-weight anthropological study of the colorful young British adepts of “clubbing,” not as in clubbing baby seals but as in dance clubs promoted by roving troupes of costumed (and not-so costumed) shills called “promo girls.”


World’s Longest Train Ride Completed from Yiwu, China to Madrid Reply

Yiwu Madrid train–A Chinese train made history on Tuesday, when after leaving from the Chinese city of Yiwu and arriving 21 days later at its final destination, Madrid. It was the longest train journey ever, reports Xinhua. The train, which is named Yiximou, set off from the train station at Yiwu, in Zhejiang province, on November 18 and eventually arrived at Madrid Aboriginal railway station, 21 days later, at around 11:00 a.m. local time. The total journey covered a staggering 13,052 kilometers, greater than that of the distance between the north and south poles, and crossed China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France, before its culmination in the Spanish capital.

On route to Madrid, Yiximou carried a total of 40 carriages, 30 of which arrived in Spain, and transported a massive 1,400 tons of merchandise, including many products for the Christmas market. The train will soon be returning to China brimming with an array of Spanish products, including cured ham, olive oil and wine. The successful trip, which was completed in around half the time it would take for a merchant vessel to travel the same distance, could potentially lead to the opening of a permanent two-way rail link between Spain and China, with regular trade potentially beginning in the new year.


Twenty-Three Reasons for Economic Optimism in Spain Reply

Instituto Alcano Spain

Editor’s note: These folks are paid to be optimistic

Facts on Spanish economy published by the Secretary of State for European Affairs (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Spain).

  1. Spain has emerged from recession and dispelled the risk of a bailout that hung over our country in 2012. In the third quarter of 2013, the Spanish economy began to grow again. In the third quarter of 2014, this growth has continued at a rate of 1.6%. The European Commission’s forecast for Spain indicates a growth rate of 1.2% for the current year, and of 1.7% for 2015

  2. In the year 2012, public deficit was reduced by nothing less than two GDP percentage points, that is, in one single year and during a recession —one of the greatest fiscal consolidations seen in the Eurozone. When the year 2013 ended, Spain had a deficit of 6.33%, lower than our target figure. In the first eight months of 2014, public deficit has been cut by another 12.4%.

  3. The balance of payments current account deficit, which reached 9.6% of GDP in 2008, had dropped to 0.9% by the first half of 2014, thus providing the world with the clearest indicator that Spain has cleaned up its trade situation.

  4. More…

Spanish Government Criticized Over Housing Crisis Evictions Reply

eviction in Spain

A Spanish citizen movement has accused the conservative government in Madrid of failing to tackle the housing eviction crisis, as the number of people being removed from their homes continues to rise.

Press–The Mortgage Victims’ Platform (PAH) made the accusation on Sunday, saying the measures imposed by the ruling People’s Party led by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have had no positive impacts on the crisis and have instead worsened the situation. The PAH called for a number of measures, including a halt in evictions and the creation of a social rent pool. In addition, the group called for the penalization of financial entities and big owners that are holding empty houses despite the housing crisis.

The comments come as official figures by the country’s Judicial Power General Council earlier this week showed that, in the third quarter of this year, 13,341 evictions took place, up 7.3 percent compared to the same period in 2013. Of those who were evicted between July and September, 43.3 percent were forced out of their homes due to falling behind on mortgage payments, and 51.3 percent for unpaid rent and the remaining 5.2 percent for other reasons.