The bump derived from the management of the coronavirus pandemic continues to be the largest suffered since the Civil War and unparalleled with other OECD countries. The Spanish economy registered in 2020 a historical decline in GDP of 10.8%, although the figure improved by two tenths to that advanced by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) last January, when a drop of 11% was initially expected, although not all the indicators were available yet.
If we look at the historical series -which began to be elaborated in 1970- the hit of 2020 constituted the largest annual decline in GDP since 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis in Europe and when the economy fell 3.8%. The ravages of the coronavirus crisis have led to beaten all negative records and last year was the worst in the series. It is also the first annual GDP contraction since 2013, when it fell by 1.4%.
A frozen autumn
The change now executed by Statistics is due to an update of both the fourth quarter and summer data, when restrictions were relaxed and the economy reopened. With all the indicators in hand, the new accounting was not without surprises: the quarterly growth from July to September was finally 17.1%, seven tenths higher than calculated. Nevertheless, in the fourth quarter the economy did not grow and remained at zero advance (0.0%) despite initial forecasts pointing to a 0.4% rise.
Along the same lines, the drop initially projected for the first quarter of last year (-5.3%) was somewhat higher and stood at -5.4%. For its part, that calculated for the second quarter (-17.9%), coinciding with the months of strict confinement and non-essential activity stoppage, moderated one tenth and remained at -17.8%.
The INE now also offers disaggregated data on the components of GDP. In detail, national demand subtracted 8.8 points from GDP, while the negative contribution of foreign demand was two points. Statistics also highlights that public spending soared in 2020, registering its largest increase since 2009, with a growth of 3.8%.
Restrictions, fear of contagion and the inability to spend as before caused a 12.4% drop in household consumption, the largest decline in the entire series. Investment, meanwhile, fell by 11.4%, the worst figure since 2009.
The GDP at current prices stood at 1,121,698 million euros, 9.9% lower than in 2019. By sector, the only one that increased its gross added value (GVA) was agriculture, with a rise of 5.3%. In contrast, construction fell 14.5%; that of services fell by 11.1%, and that of industry and energy fell by 9.6%.