Spain comes out better than its European partners of the forecasts presented yesterday by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Indonesia. As announced by the mission of the international organization that last week visited Madrid, the outlook for growth for this year is downgraded, but only one tenth. And it keeps the 2019 projection unchanged. It's not good news, but it almost seems that when compared to the six and five tenths that Germany and France see falling from the April forecast.
The favorable balance does not end here. It is not only that its revision is more benevolent than that of its neighbors, it is that Spain also grows more. Against the rise of GDP of 2.7% expected for this year, the eurozone will have a meager 2%. And in 2019, when Spain grows 2.2%, the monetary union will do so by 1.9%.
In the document presented at dawn on Tuesday (Spanish time), the Fund does not deviate one millimeter of the recommendations of last week. Thus, it calls on the countries of the euro zone to have a "limited" margin of fiscal maneuver -between those that cite France, Italy and Spain- that use this period of growth above their potential and the facilities that are still granted by ECB lax to rebuild fiscal mattresses that allow them to be in a more comfortable situation when the lean days return. On the contrary, for countries like Germany that have room for fiscal maneuver, the Fund once again demands that they use it to increase public investment and investment in physical and human capital. This is a claim already classic to Berlin by the body led by Lagarde, and to which the Government of Angela Merkel often turns a deaf ear.
The IMF already erupted fully into the Spanish internal debate last week. A few days after all parties signing the Pact of Toledo reached an agreement to revalue pensions based on the rise in prices, the head of the mission of the Fund in Spain, Andrea Schaechter, showed her displeasure with a measure unilateral without taking into account other factors that have an impact on future income. A reform of these characteristics, without a package of measures that take into account both expenditures and income, said Schaechter, "can jeopardize the sustainability of the pension system."
The Fund believes that the reform to re-link them with the inflation rate (CPI) "may jeopardize the sustainability of the system" if this change becomes isolated, without a comprehensive package that affects both the income and the expenses of the system. . The IMF estimates that this link between pensions and CPI would add between 3% and 4% of GDP to pension disbursements in the next 30 years. And that is why he believes that an increase of this magnitude has to be counteracted with other structural measures. Technicians also see it very difficult to reverse the trend of pensions gradually losing purchasing power.
In its report yesterday, the IMF returns to draw on one of its classics in regard to Spain: the reform of its labor market, with unemployment still at unbearable levels and with a great duality between fixed and temporary employees. "In Spain, a new impetus is needed to promote an agenda of structural reforms that leads to greater effectiveness of active labor market policies and reduces market segmentation," the text continues.