The IMF leaves Spain’s growth in 2021 at 4.9% and points it out as the great disappointment of the eurozone


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Against what the Government assured and even against what the large international organizations expected, the Spanish economy, which was one of those that suffered the most from the blow of the pandemic, it has not been the one that has also shown a more vigorous recovery in the first year of reactivation. The powerful growth of 9.8% that Nadia Calviño’s team ‘painted’ to support the public accounts of 2021 and the more moderate 6.5% that was forced to establish when just three months of last year had already been observed that the objective set in the Budgets was totally unattainable will finally remain, according to the advance published this Tuesday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at a much more modest 4.9%

, which is not only a galaxy away from the official forecast but below world growth and the average growth of the euro zone.

Gone are the enthusiastic messages that the Government launched last summer, in the heat of a very positive data on growth progress in the second quarter -which the INE would amend weeks later in a historical and controversial correction-, and in which it predicted that Spain would be the engine of economic recovery in Europe. The data provided this Tuesday by the IMF, already with a significant volume of information on the performance of the different economies in hand, place the Spanish growth of 4.9% below the average: below the growth of 5.2 % marked by the euro zone, 5% registered in advanced economies or 5.9% of world GDP.

The comparison with our main competitors, the rest of the large euro economies, is not particularly positive either. The advance of the IMF attributes to France a growth of 6.7% and to Italy, of 6.2%. The United Kingdom, for example, would have rebounded 7.1% in the first year of the recovery. The comparison is relevant because Just a year ago, IMF analysts attributed to Spain a much higher growth potential in 2021 that of these countries, based on the more than positive expectations conveyed by the Spanish authorities.

The projections that the IMF published in January 2021 attributed to the Spanish economy a growth potential of 5.9%, astride the boost in investment expected from European funds – much lower than that proclaimed by the Government of Spain, but from which a significant boost was expected- and which placed Spain as the advanced economy with better expectations for 2021, well above the expected growth globally (5.5%) and of course for the eurozone (4.2 %).

Also clearly above the growth that the organization expected for France (5.5%), Italy (3%) or the United Kingdom (4.5%). The subsequent performance of the main European economies throughout the year has separated Spain from their growing vigor and has related the domestic economy to the German economy so that a more modest growth of 3.5% was already expected, but which according to the agency closed 2021 with an even more tenuous advance of 2.7%. Even in the German case, the adjustment with respect to expected growth twelve months ago is less than in the case of Spain, which the IMF data places as the great disappointment of 2021 together with the Japanese economy.

All this despite the exceptional vaccination rates accredited by the country, which have been valued and applauded by the main international organizations, and despite the speed with which Spain has pulled the strings to be able to make use of the growth lever of European funds as soon as possible.

To complete the picture, the IMF shows a point greater than pessimism regarding the evolution of the world economy in the face of 2022. The forecast update report that the agency published this Tuesday (WEO, according to its well-known acronym in English) warns that “the global economy starts 2022 in a weaker forecast than expected” as a result of a series of factors among which he cites the impact of the Ómicron variant, the persistence of tensions in the energy price market, problems in supply chains and the spread of inflationary pressures to an ever-increasing number of sectors, all aligned with somewhat weaker demand from the powerful Chinese market.

The Fund understands that this ‘cocktail’ of factors will lower the pace of world growth in 2022 from 5.9% to 4.4% and that of the euro zone from 5.2% to 3.9%. As the world faces the slowdown after the vigorous recovery of 2021, Spain will be a year late to recovery and will accelerate its growth this coming year against the global trend from 4.9% to 5.8%. The organism’s forecast is back far from the government target of 7%, but it does place Spain as the great developed economy that will grow the most this year, in which, as the head of the IMF mission in Spain advanced last December, it is expected that the country will receive a boost from the European funds that did not have in 2021.

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