Published on Monday, July 10, 2023

Spain | Who are the new exporters?

Spanish exports increased by 12.9% from 4Q19 to 1Q23. By comparison, GDP would have barely returned to its pre-pandemic level during that period, while private consumption and investment were 4.8% and 3.7% below 4Q19 levels.

Key points

  • Key points:
  • As a result, the weight in GDP of exports in real terms has grown from 34.5% to 39% (in nominal terms, from 34% to 42.4%).
  • Reaching these thresholds marks the culmination of a transformation process that began in 2008 when only a quarter of national output was destined to satisfying demand from the rest of the world.
  • Among the sectors that have recorded significant progress, there are some that have benefited from COVID-19 and others from the energy transition or the collateral effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Among the former, "pharmaceutical specialties" stand out.
  • Likewise, lockdowns boosted courier services, home remodeling, and process automation and digitalization. This has stimulated the output of paper and cardboard products, as well as the need to purchase plastic, both of which have seen exports increase by around 15%.
  • However, the greatest growth in exports has been in services, which have grown by 34% and now account for 14.5% of GDP. The importance of consumption by non-residents in Spain (5.7% of GDP) is widely known. However, we know little about the rest (8.8%).

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