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.
Wikipedia.org–The Great Recession in Spain 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. 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. The results of the crisis were devastating for Spain, including a strong economic downturn, a severe increase in unemployment, and bankruptcies of major companies.
Reuters.com–Feb 9 (Reuters) – Herve Falciani, the former HSBC employee who supplied information on the bank’s clients and their tax situation, will help upstart Spanish political party Podemos (We Can) with its election programme, party officials said on Monday. HSBC client data obtained by Falciani is at the centre of a storm over the British bank. HSBC has admitted failings by its Swiss private bank, after media reports that it helped wealthy customers dodge taxes and conceal millions of dollars of assets.
Falciani — who used to work in IT at the Swiss subsidiary and who has described himself as a whistleblower trying to help governments track down tax evaders — will produce a tax fraud report for the Spanish party, one of its officials, Luis Alegre, told a news conference in Madrid. “Many thanks to Falciani for offering to collaborate with Podemos’ programme,” Podemos’ 36-year-old leader Pablo Iglesias said on Twitter. “He will be an invaluable help.”Anti-establishment Podemos, which is barely a year old, has risen rapidly in opinion polls, some of which show it would win a general election due later this year, ending decades of a two-party system in Spain.
Estéban Duarte writes for Bloomberg.com–The anti-austerity party Podemos, leading Spanish polls less than a year before the next election, is targeting Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS)’s purchase of social housing in Madrid, saying it’s a predatory type of investment that should be stamped out. Podemos is highlighting transactions such as Goldman’s 201 million-euro ($234 million) acquisition of rent-protected apartments as it works out policies to reduce inequality in Spain and draw millions of unemployed workers back into the labor force after a seven-year slump.
“They know that at a certain point the protected rents will expire, and when that happens, they will throw the tenants out,” Juan Carlos Monedero, a member of Podemos’s executive committee, said in an interview. “They are enriching people who already have more money than they know what to do with, and in turn they are forcing people to live on the streets.”
Fresh Plaza.com–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.
Isn.ethz.ch–Our interviewee this month is Charles Powell, who is the Director of the Elcano Royal Institute in Madrid. In our discussion, Mr. Powell 1) explains how the Institute uses its annual Global Presence Index to measure how different countries manifest themselves internationally, 2) reflects on how Spain has fared in the Index over time, 3) clarifies why traditional Western defense models are losing their utility, and 4) recommends ways that Spain might want to restructure its defense posture and capabilities.
In 2010, the Elcano Royal Institute launched the annual Elcano Global Presence Index. This index measures and ranks the ‘external presence’ of various countries. Can you tell us more about how you assess this presence? Also, what were the results of the latest ranking?
In our view, global presence refers to a country’s ability to project itself externally. It measures to what extent and in what ways countries ‘are out there’, regardless of whether they are exerting actual influence or power.
Shanghaiist.com–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.
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).
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
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%.
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.
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 TV.com–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.
Located at the crossroads of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Spain’s history and culture are made up of a rich mix of diverse elements.
BBC.com–Through exploration and conquest, Spain became a world power in the 16th century, and it maintained a vast overseas empire until the early 19th century. Spain’s modern history is marked by the bitterly fought Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, and the ensuing 36-year dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.
After Franco’s death in 1975, Spain made the transition to a democratic state and built a successful economy, with King Juan Carlos as head of state. The constitution of 1978 enshrines respect for linguistic and cultural diversity within a united Spain. The country is divided into 17 regions which all have their own directly elected authorities. The level of autonomy afforded to each region is far from uniform. For example, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Galicia have special status with their own language and other rights.
Recent months have seen house prices in Spain rise for the first time in six years, after the housing sector was badly hit by the financial crisis. José García Montalvo writes that one of the most damaging aspects of the crisis in Spain was that the housing bubble experienced during the 2000s was also accompanied by declining productivity.
LSE.ak.uk–It is well known that one of the culprits of the Spanish economic crisis was the housing sector, as was the case in many other countries such as Ireland and the United States. The size of the Spanish housing bubble was huge: in just a few years the ratio of housing prices over household disposable income doubled from 4 to close to 8. But the worst part of the housing bubble and Spain’s “marvelous decade” was the decreasing productivity of an economy concentrated on building houses, alongside the institutional corruption tied to the development of land and the housing business. In fact, an important part of the current corruption problem in Spain stems from the easy money of the prodigious years of the housing bubble.