Spain’s industry is facing a more complex environment

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  • The manufacturing sector continued to recover steadily in 2021 with activity growing by over 8%, turnover up by 16% and exports by almost 20%. Although expectations were for a gradual recovery in the following months, the outbreak of war in Ukraine has intensified some of the drawbacks already suffered by the sector in 2021: rising commodity and energy prices and supply problems in certain industries. It is important to point out that the situation is quite varied within the industry, so an in-depth analysis allows us to assess how some sectors are more exposed than others to these external factors. On the positive side, the recovery in demand for final goods, the effort being made to replenish inventories, the easing of the health crisis and the revitalisation of projects related to the NGEU programme will partly offset such external obstacles.
  • In view of their huge impact on activity, our analysis focuses on both the energy shock and the problems encountered by global supply chains. Firstly, rocketing natural gas, oil and electricity prices have been affecting the energy bill for all economic agents over the past few months. In this Report we investigate the specific impact of this increase in energy prices on the manufacturing industry, the biggest consumer of electricity in the Spanish economy. Through an analysis of input-output tables, we determine those sub-sectors whose energy bill plays a more significant role in their cost structure, differentiating the sectors that are more exposed and being more affected by the current energy price situation.
  • Secondly, COVID-19 and, more recently, the conflict in Ukraine have highlighted the problems encountered by global supply chains as a result of major asymmetric shocks at a global level. The fear of shortages in essential goods and products to combat the pandemic during the early stages of the health crisis, and the supply problems of certain inputs following the strong recovery of the economic cycle throughout 2021 have once more made the debate regarding the consequences and benefits of globalisation relevant. This Report reviews the past, present and future of global value chains.
  • Finally, we also provide a special article focusing solely on Spain’s pharmaceutical industry, a key and strategic sector for our economy, as has become evident during the pandemic. In recent decades, the sector has become hugely important thanks to its role as a driver of exports and to the fact that, in the past few years, it has accounted for most of the private investment in R&D for the manufacturing industry as a whole in Spain. Nevertheless, comparisons with other European countries suggest its production capacity has room for improvement. In fact, the trend looks favourable for the sector over the next few years, in an extremely competitive industry with a great capacity to create good quality jobs.