Sat. Apr 20th, 2019

From 2008 to 2019: campaign and reality

Del 2008 al 2019: campaña y realidad

At the beginning of 2008, on the eve of the great global financial crisis, businessmen were optimistic. Economic activity was solid, growth was steady, orders were flowing, and only the credit policy of banks, which began to notice turbulence and reluctance of its European peers, which lent it the money to finance the bubble, was detected. real estate The problems were of others, external, they came from a world foreign to an economy that in general was protected from the international clouds. No banker or relevant businessman at that time expressed significant concerns, something that, on the other hand, did not make analysts, experts and international organizations. Do not try hard to remember what finally happened.

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Now, more than a decade later, that deliberative state and restlessness is once again present among businessmen and analysts. Companies, especially large ones, keep expectations high, billing does not suffer and profits continue to grow. As then, everything seems a far wrong. But recent experience has learned that sooner or later the bad news ends up knocking on the door.

The advance of a certain climate of concern is more than justified. First, by some data, not yet fully consolidated -especially the stagnation of exports, the fall in the index of industrial production and the decline in investment-. All discouraging symptoms that must be carefully calibrated.

Also, second element of concern, day in and day out, responsible for international institutions such as Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB), the man who has more data on the economy of the eurozone, or Christine Lagarde, managing director of the Fund International Monetary Fund (IMF), to give examples of evident relevance, warn of the dangers that lie in wait, inviting to begin the preparations for a hypothetical resistance. The list of potential problems is extensive, from the commercial war unleashed by the administration of Donald Trump, the peculiar president of the United States, to the bottling of Brexit or the slowing down of growth in China, one of the world's locomotives. And, from there, in a chain, passing through Germany, it would arrive in Spain.

The third food of psychological distress in the economic world is related, of course, to the electoral campaign. Certain capital press shows its best apocalyptic galas in these days of electoral heating. An example, the headlines of some newspapers on account of an analysis of the IMF predicting a stagnation of the unemployment rate in Spain in the environment of 14%: "The IMF warns that unemployment will stop falling next year. Spain will be left out of the global recovery of 2020 "or the even more strident" Alarm in the Spanish economy. The IMF rules out that unemployment in Spain will fall by 14% in the next two years, "going through a generic" economic slowdown in sight. " All presaging, suddenly, the end of growth.

In fact, the IMF strongly attributes the difficulty of further lowering the unemployment rate to the fact that the active population will grow - number of people of working age willing to do so - and that the participation rate will increase - percentage of assets over the total population-. According to the organism that Lagarde directs, the predicted stagnation in the reduction of the rate of unemployment would not be because it seriously worsened the state of the economy but because there would be more people than before trying to integrate in the labor market.

It remains to be seen if this much-announced slowdown, and whose symptoms are already clearly registered, becomes complicated and becomes a recession, and with it the domino effect that in 2008 onwards almost takes ahead some European economies and the single currency, or on the contrary, the thing does not go to major and after some uncertain quarters a dynamic of certain growth is recovered.

Regarding the analyzes of international institutions, many experts are reacting with some caution. There are few who think that these organizations apply the policy of protecting themselves against future and hypothetical criticism. Accused in their day of complacency and blindness in the face of the financial crisis that hit the world economy, they would now try to heal in health and warn, albeit exaggeratedly, at the slightest indication of danger. In the case of the ECB, it has also opted to act by announcing the postponement of the interest rate hike initially planned for next autumn.

Those who think so also remember that none of those forums bet on the worst scenario. It is about extreme possibilities, still far from what they consider most likely, a slowdown of some quarters to resume later a path of more or less moderate growth.

The economic leaders of the Spanish parties that attend the elections, share with more or less differences that the Spanish economy still does not show symptoms of exhaustion. Although, in line with their different political alignment, rely on different recipes to prevent the thing from going higher. Although the economy will not be the axis of the campaign, its transcendence is obvious.

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