Published on Monday, April 5, 2021

Spain | Exports will lead the recovery again

COVID-19 hit international trade in 2020, paralyzing activity in several sectors and disrupting global supply chains. Demand plummeted and trade flows were severely damaged. The upward trend in the export of Spanish goods that had been ongoing since 2010 was also interrupted.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • Foreign sales of Spanish companies decreased by 10% in 2020. In the second quarter they suffered a historic fall—almost 25% in terms of volume—although there was a rapid recovery and they had almost returned to pre-crisis levels by the end of the year.
  • By type of goods, the impact of the crisis has been uneven and has given rise to changes in the export structure. It has adversely affected durable and intermediate consumer goods but, conversely, boosted the food sector.
  • Agriculture now has a higher weight in the total exports of goods, while industry has gone the other way, although behavior within the latter has not been homogenous. The food and pharmaceutical industries have grown in strength, while the transport and textile industries have been negatively impacted.
  • The regional structure of goods exports has remained practically unchanged despite the effects of the pandemic. Catalonia is still the most important region in terms of exports, concentrating 25% of total exports and leading foreign sales in the main sectors (food, capital goods, semimanufactures and automobiles).
  • By destination, there was a general fall in Spanish goods exports in 2020, except for those to China, which rebounded and grew by over 20%. Sales to the Eurozone, which is the main destination of our sales, fell by 7%; sales to North America by 10%; and sales to Latin America and Africa by double-digit negative growth rates.

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