Catalonia

The Catalonian economy shrank by 11.4% in 2020 due to the effect of the COVID-19 health crisis. This fall was greater than it was for the Spanish economy as a whole (–10.8%). One of the reasons for this steeper decline is that the tourism industry, the hardest hit by restrictions on mobility, carries considerable weight in Catalonia and, moreover, it is highly dependent on international tourism.

Content available in
November 8th, 2021
Cataluña
7,652,000
inhabitants (2019)
€31,119
GDP per capita (2019)
19.0%
of Spanish GDP (2019)
4.8%
GDP growth forecast (2021)
Regional economic structure and position
  • Catalonia is the Autonomous Community with the second highest GDP, accounting for 19% of domestic GDP.
  • It has a population of 7.7 million habitants, 16.2% of the Spanish population, making it the Autonomous Community with the second largest population, after Andalusia.
  • The total GDP per capita is 31,119 euros, so it is 17.8% higher than the Spanish average.
  • It has a highly diversified production sector, although in terms of production specialisation it is notable for the relative importance of its manufacturing industry (16.2% vs. the Spanish average of 12.3%) and trade, transportation, hotels and restaurants and leisure (29.3% vs. 28%).
  • Catalonia is highly export-oriented and it is the Autonomous Community with the highest volume of exports of goods, accounting for 31% of regional GDP. In 2020, Catalonian exports totalled 66.265 billion euros, 25% of all Spanish exports. The main exporting sectors are: the motor vehicle industry (12.7% of the total), pharmaceutical products (9.5%), plastics and their manufactured goods (7.1%).
  • It is the Autonomous Community with the highest revenues from international tourism, with 21.319 billion euros in 2019, 23.2% of the national total.

Table of structural indicators

 

   

1989

1999

2009

 

2019

GDP per capita

Euros

 

8,999

17,928

26,874

 

31,119

100 = Spain

 

121.1

122.6

116.5

 

117.8

Population

Thousands of inhabitants

 

6,065

6,283

7,463

 

7,652

Average annual growth over the decade (%)

 

0.3

0.4

1.7

 

0.3

% of total in Spain

 

15.6

15.5

16.1

 

16.2

% of population > 65 years old

 

4.7

5.2

4.4

 

5.0

Exports of goods as a proportion of GDP

%

 

...

24.6

20.7

 

31.2

 

 
Macroeconomic situation

The Catalonian economy shrank by 11.4% in 2020 due to the effect of the COVID-19 health crisis. This fall was greater than it was for the Spanish economy as a whole (–10.8%). One of the reasons for this steeper decline is that the tourism industry, the hardest hit by restrictions on mobility, carries considerable weight in Catalonia and, moreover, it is highly dependent on international tourism.

For 2021, our forecasts indicate that Catalonia’s GDP will grow by 4.8%, which puts it 7.1% below pre-COVID levels. The weakness of international tourism slowed the rate of recovery in the first half of the year, despite the strong upswing in exports. We expect a strong upturn in activity during the second half of 2021, supported by the effect of pent-up demand, the recovery of domestic and EU tourism and, to a lesser extent, the implementation of the first NGEU funds.

GDP

Last actualization: 08 November 2021 - 09:23

Employment in the region has been harder hit than it has on average in Spain. Despite this, the trend observed in recent months is highly positive. In August, the figure for registered workers affiliated to the Social Security was 0.3% higher than it was in August 2019, although the number of non-furloughed workers is still 1.8% lower than it was in the same month in 2019. The number of furloughed workers has fallen to 53,671, 1.8% of workers affiliated to the Social Security.

The decline in consumption was steeper than the national average. The retail trade indicator fell by 8.2% in 2020 and, despite the recovery currently being recorded, it is still far below the figures from 2019 (–4.2% in July vs. July 2019). The CaixaBank consumption indicator shows a notable recovery in recent months; in the first week in September it was just 0.5% below the figure for the same period in 2019.

Industrial production, which contracted by 9.3% in 2020, in line with the average, now has a more positive recovery profile, although in July 2021 it was still 2.7% below its level in June 2019.

Exports are recovering strongly, after declining by 10.3% in 2020, and in the first half of 2021 they were 5.9% higher than in 2019 and above average growth in Spain (2.8%). Thus, so far this year, it is the Autonomous Community that has made the biggest contribution (7.0 pps) to the year-on-year growth in Spanish exports (23.3%). Chemical products, capital goods and food, beverages and tobacco are currently the most best-performing sectors.

After the islands, Catalonia is the third most dependent Autonomous Community on international tourism and it has been hard hit by the restrictions on the sector. In July, spending by foreign tourists was 70% below its level in July 2019 and overnight stays by foreigners and Spanish tourists fell by 40%.

CaixaBank consumer index

Last actualization: 08 November 2021 - 09:02

Exports of goods

Last actualization: 08 November 2021 - 09:05

Table of indicators

 

 

2002-2007 average

2008-2014 average

2015-2018 average

2019

2020

2021

Latest figure

Activity and prices

Real GDP*
(% year-on-year change)

3.5

–1.2

2.8

1.8

–11.4

2020

3.5

–1.3

2.8

2.0

–10.8

Retail trade**
(% cumulative annual change)

–3.1

0.7

2.0

–8.2

–5.4

July-21

–3.7

1.8

2.5

–5.6

–3.4

Industrial production index**
(% cumulative annual change)

1.2

–2.6

2.5

–1.2

–9.3

–2.9

July-21

1.9

–4.2

1.7

0.6

–9.2

–4.1

Service activity index**
(% cumulative annual change)

–2.8

4.6

3.1

–15.6

–6.8

June-21

–3.4

5.5

3.9

–15.6

–6.9

Consumer price index
(% year-on-year change)

3.5

1.7

1.4

0.9

–0.4

2.8

July-21

3.1

1.4

1.1

0.7

–0.3

2.9

                 

Labour market

Registered employment affiliated to Social Security**
(% year-on-year change)

3.1

–2.4

3.6

2.4

–2.4

0.3

August-21

3.5

–2.3

3.4

2.6

–2.1

0.8

Unemployment rate
(% active population)

8.3

18.3

14.8

11.0

12.6

12.3

Q2 2021

10.0

20.8

18.5

14.1

15.5

15.3

Unemployment rate for under 25s
(% active population < 25)

18.1

41.1

33.7

26.2

34.0

33.5

Q2 2021

20.4

44.5

41.5

32.6

49.6

38.4

                 

Public sector

Public deficit
(% of GDP)

0.7

–3.2

–1.2

–0.6

–0.4

2020

–0.3

–2.5

–0.8

–0.6

–0.2

Autonomous Communities public debt
(% of GDP)

7.8

20.6

34.8

33.4

37.1

38.0

Q1 2021

6.0

13.8

24.5

23.7

27.1

27.6

                 

Real estate market

Housing prices
(% year-on-year change)

–8.5

8.4

5.2

2.0

3.2

Q2 2021

–6.8

5.8

5.1

2.1

3.3

Housing sales
(% cumulative annual change)

–4.3

13.8

–0.8

–19.3

28.6

June-21

–8.7

13.4

–2.4

–17.2

31.8

                 

Foreign sector and tourism

Exports of goods**
(% cumulative annual change)

6.1

3.0

3.7

–3.8

–10.3

5.9

June-21

6.8

4.2

4.5

2.0

–10.2

2.8

Tourist overnight stays**
(% cumulative annual change)

1.7

2.2

2.7

2.8

–71.4

–62.0

July-21

2.4

1.1

3.4

0.6

–69.3

–63.9

Notes: *The 2020 GDP figure for Autonomous Communities is an estimate made by CaixaBank Research. ** The changes from the same period in 2019 are calculated.

Source: CaixaBank Research, based on data from the National Statistics Institute (INE), the Bank of Spain, the Ministry of Labour, Migration and Social Security (MITRAMISS), the Ministry of Finance and DataComex.

Regional comparison

Below we show a series of charts comparing the main indicators for the various regions.

Regional comparison

Last actualization: 27 October 2021 - 10:31