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Country Report Spain September 2017

Country Report Spain September 2017

  • September 2017
  • ID: 2358823
  • Format: PDF
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit


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Outlook for 2017-21

  • In November 2016, following two inconclusive general elections, the conservative Popular Party (PP) formed a minority government led by the incumbent prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.
  • Mr Rajoy required the abstention of the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) to gain parliament's confidence. His government lacks a clear parliamentary majority and will need to seek ad hoc support for each law.
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit does not expect the government to serve a full four-year term, with another early election in 2018 or 2019 being the most likely scenario. The political scene will remain fluid and fragmented.
  • Spain's economy is in a more robust recovery phase than that of most of its peers. It has benefited from a programme of structural reform, notably of the labour market.
  • The outlook for further reforms is bleak, however. Catalonia's bid for a referendum will lead to an impasse, and the government will face tougher opposition as relations warm between the PSOE and Unidos Podemos (UP).
  • Following an expansion of 3.2% last year, we forecast real GDP growth of 3.2% in 2017 and average growth of 2.3% in 2018-21, largely driven by private consumption and fixed investment.
  • After narrowing to 4.5% of GDP in 2016, we expect a budget deficit of 3.3% this year. We project a further contraction, to 2.4% in 2018 and 1.4% on average in 2019-21. Public debt should fall to below 90% of GDP by 2021.


  • A detailed breakdown of second-quarter real GDP growth reveals that the 0.9% expansion (quarter on quarter) was driven by private consumption and by net exports, as exports expanded and imports contracted.
  • On August 17th Islamic State (IS) terrorist attacks in the region of Catalonia, in Barcelona and Cambrils, claimed 16 lives and left more than 100 injured.
  • Consumer price inflation on the EU harmonised measure rose to 2% in August, up from 1.7% in July. On a seasonally and working-day-adjusted basis, prices rose by 0.4% month on month.
  • On August 28th Catalan separatist parties presented a bill in the regional parliament that would set the legal framework for an independent Catalan republic if the region were to secede from Spain following a referendum on October 1st. The national government regards this referendum as illegal.
  • The current account recorded a surplus of EUR3.6bn in the first half of 2017, down from EUR5.8bn in January-June 2016.

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