“Be careful not to load the recovery in progress”


MADRID

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Most entrepreneurs are optimistic about the evolution of their businesses in this coming year. But as the year progresses, doubts grow and expectations are lowered. The main risk is the energy crisis that worsens day by day and that is triggering prices, including those of raw materials, but companies also warn about the fiscal and labor policy measures that the government is announcing. “Be careful not to burden yourself with the ongoing recovery,” the president of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, José Luis Bonet, pointed out last Thursday. And it is that if the already complicated situation faced by many companies, especially industries

With high electricity consumption, there are tax increases or a labor reform that instead of introducing more flexibility, increases rigidity, the problems multiply.

For the moment, companies are taking measures to mitigate the increase in costs. And to this intention he responds
the cascade of stops in the electrointensive industry of northern Spain
that we are seeing in these last days. If last week Sidenor from Bizkaia was the first to announce the interruption of its production for 20 days, on Friday it was ArcelorMittal and Reinosa Forgings & Castings, the former Naval, which unveiled selective stoppages of its activity, in the peak hours where the price is higher. Plus, all of them did not rule out applying more drastic measures in the future.

At the moment they are the companies most affected by the increase in the price of electricity, but they are not the only ones. SMEs and freelancers with small businesses, restaurants, bars, hairdressers … are seeing their production costs skyrocket. In this scenario, the evolution of inflation is not surprising. This week we have known the final CPI data for September, 4% in the interannual rate, the highest figure since 2008. For now
This strong price increase is focused on the most volatile products in the shopping basket,
and especially energy, while core inflation remains under control, at 1%. The problem now is that little by little the increase in energy prices will be transferred to everything else. Companies will not be able to last long without transferring this increase in costs to the price of their products. That is why it is important that this increase in the price of energy is temporary. But I am very much afraid that neither the measures adopted by the Spanish Government to lower the price of electricity, nor the alleged and non-existent consensus among European countries for joint measures to be taken give rise to hope.

For now each country is waging war on its own. Faced with the demonization of nuclear energy that has occurred in Spain, especially from the left-wing parties, in France, And despite the proximity of the elections, President Macron announced a package of measures and investments to reactivate the country through the ecological and digital transition, in which sand they foresee 1,000 million to build nuclear reactors. It would be something unthinkable in Spain, but at this time it is the best option to produce cheap and non-polluting energy. Of course, it is not the bet of the Government of the current coalition government and it is very likely that it will not be of a future conservative government either. So we better get used to paying more for electricity. Decisions on economic and energy policy have their price.

Business optimism

Almost three out of four companies believe that 2022 will be better than this year, according to the Business Climate Study of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce. It is not very difficult considering the stoppage of the first part of the exercise due to the pandemic.

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