The 2013/01/16 at 08:52
Valérie Demon, in Madrid
“2013 should not be as bad as 2012,” puts forward Juan de Lucio, Manager of the Surveys unit at the High Council of Chambers of Spain. The institution has released findings based on the results of the traditional big European Economic Survey conducted by Eurochambres in around thirty countries amongst 48,526 company heads, including 3,633 of Spanish nationality. “Eurochambres transferred the results to us. We then produced certain data to highlight Spanish characteristics,” specifies Juan de Lucio. Worthy of note is the absence of statistics this year for Greece, Ireland, and more surprisingly, France.
Prospects in 2013 are expected to be not as bad as those recorded in 2012. This said, only export will keep its end up, while domestic sales, turnover and employment will continue to evolve negatively. The number of Spanish businesses envisaging an increase in export in 2013 is 24 % higher than those believing that their exports will drop. Optimism in this area is on the rise compared with 2012 figures. On the other hand, estimates concerning domestic sales, turnover, employment and investment, remain negative. While pessimism about the year ahead has dropped amongst Spanish company heads, the latter are still gloomy. The percentage of businesses expecting a dip in turnover in 2013 remains 6 % higher than those staying optimistic (compared with 21 % last year). “Domestic demand will remain weak and employment figures will also stay poor,” states Juan de Lucio.
Forecasts on investments are a particular cause of concern for Chambers of Commerce as they remain worse than in 2012. In addition, investment, as Juan de Lucio points out, “affects long-term growth, research and development”. Given that financing remains problematic, Juan de Lucio indicates that “businesses are seeking alternatives, whether via capital or via their chain of clients. As long as uncertainty hangs over the economy, the financial sector will not finance businesses. Banks prefer to keep their liquid assets to affront any possible unexpected circumstances. This situation will not improve in 2013, it will be the same or even get worse.”
In this way, export remains the focus of Spain’s hopes. Spanish businesses even prove to be more optimistic than their European counterparts (27 EU countries). “To a certain extent, export helps compensate for the decrease in domestic demand. Spain is set to become one of those countries emerging from the crisis with increased levels of overseas implantation,” declares the Manager of the Surveys unit at the High Council of Chambers of Spain. Yet the Gordian Knot of domestic demand remains, and will be difficult to unravel if employment shows no signs of improvement. On a final note of hope, Juan de Lucio forecasts that “we are going to continue to suffer but not as intensely as in 2012”.