These are turbulent times, both for economic analysts and for those in charge of preparing the statistics on which that analysis is based. The difficulties in measuring the growth of the economy arising from the pandemic are now added to the consequences that the war in Ukraine is having. All this has motivated major lurches in national accounting data from Spain in the last two weeks.
The last one we have known this Friday. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE), the economy advanced 1.5% in the second quarter and not 1.1% as previously thought. The same way, GDP contracted 0.2% in the first three months of the year and it did not grow 0.2% as the institution maintained until this Friday.
The statistical institute itself points out that the corrections in the growth data are due to the fact that you now have more information than you did when you posted the trailer at the end of last July. And in addition, he warns that we must get used to this type of correction in the coming months due to the “inherent difficulty” of the current situation and high inflation. Some corrections whose results will be “a magnitude greater than usual.”
The revision that has been introduced today comes to complete the one that was known last week. Then, the INE modified the annual growth figures for the two previous yearscorrecting the figure for 2020 downwards five tenths (it went from -10.8 to -11.3%) and the figure for 2021 upwards four (from 5.1 to 5.5%).
And although the two revisions introduce some changes in the story of how the recovery is going post-pandemic economy, the overall picture remains the same. We now know that the economy sank deeper in 2020 than previously thought and that the rebound in the third quarter of that year was somewhat milder. Spain entered a brief technical recession between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, but growth was much more robust than previously thought. the rest of the quarters.
It is also now known that the effects of Transport stoppages and the invasion of Ukraine affected growth more than previously thought and ended up contracting the GDP in the first quarter by 0.2%. Something that was offset by a more powerful awakening in a second quarter, marked by good consumption data.
Nevertheless, These revisions do not change the position of the Spanish economy in the recovery process. The national GDP is still 2.3% below its pre-pandemic level, while with the previous figures the distance was 2.4%, just one tenth of a difference.
What this review can provide is a little breath of fresh air for the Government’s growth expectations. The set of corrections by the INE, which has rebalanced the upturn in activity towards the end of 2021, will cause the economy will grow this year two tenths more than if the changes had not occurred.
However, this in no case guarantees that the Government’s forecasts, which officially expect the economy to grow by 4.3% in 2022 and 2.7% next year, will be fulfilled. Especially when the uncertainty that hangs over Europe in the coming quarters has led most private analysts to revise downwards its growth estimates for the euro countries as a whole.
It is difficult to predict what will happen in the coming months. In Spain, with the indicators known to date, Airef estimates that GDP could contract by 0.3% in the third trimester. However, for now only half of the indicators with which the tax authority prepares this calculation are known and, in fact, it has not yet included the review published by the INE this morning in its estimates. The publication of the final employment data in the first week of October will shed a little more light on where the Spanish economy is headed.