The microchip crisis and online sales threaten Galician exports


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During the first quarter of this year, with the third wave of the coronavirus at its peak, the Galician economy suffered. GDP fell another 2.9%, a figure less dramatic than the 4.3% decline recorded for Spain as a whole. A good part of this difference is explained by the behavior of exports in Galicia, which managed to compensate somewhat for the sharp decline in domestic consumption in times of perimeter confinements and restrictions on leisure and hospitality. However, there are dark clouds that affect this engine of the Galician economy. One of them is the microchip crisis affecting the Stellantis plant in Vigo and another is the increase in online sales by Inditex.

Vehicles produced in Vigo account for a third of Galicia’s total exports, explained this morning the director of the Economic Forum of Galicia, Santiago Lago Peñas. The group of economists presented the business report for the first quarter of the year in Santiago. The stoppages that affect the Stellantis factory due to the impossibility of obtaining the microchips will already be noted in the export data for the month of April. “It is a process that is affecting all the countries of the world,” reflected Lago, who he considered it as one of the “uncertainties and shadows” that affect the Galician economy.

The textile sector It is the other big car that pulls sales abroad in Galicia. But as the economist and former president of the Xunta, Fernando González Laxe, pointed out, in the first quarter of the year he already showed signs of a certain withdrawal. “A good part of the textile is sold online”, he explained, but most of the distribution platforms of the giant Inditex are not in Galicia. Only two of the 10 existing in Spain. «If the exports are sold online, they correspond to the autonomous community where these logistics centers are located », said González Laxe.

Despite the fact that Covid continued to negatively influence GDP during the first quarter, the Forum suggests that During the rest of the year the economy is showing symptoms of rec. “We are in the process of recovery, but it will not be a full recovery,” warned Lago. “In 2020 we fell by 9%, this year we will grow around 6-7%, so we are not going to recover everything,” he predicted. The Forum report also highlights the positive effect of ERTEs, since the abrupt decline in GDP has not resulted in the same loss of employment. The ERTEs, said the economist José Francisco Armesto, have been “fundamental to face the impact of the crisis.” However, from now on they will pose a great challenge to public accounts due to the large expenditure that is being borne by the State.

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