After several weeks going up, the consumption of the Spanish has fallen again. The provinces with outbreaks of coronavirus have imposed certain restrictions —mainly the closure of nightlife venues and the reduction of capacity in the hospitality industry— and the effect is being noticed in card transactions and cash withdrawals. The BBVA and Sabadell banks offer this data in real time, based on both their clients’ card usage and POS terminals at points of sale. The figures we reflect here are for the number of transactions, not total expenditure.
As of July 26, the BBVA indicator showed growth of 0.5% year-on-year across Spain, after almost the whole month in more positive figures, between 3% and 4% over the previous year. As of August 2, the Sabadell indicator showed an average commercial recovery of 88% throughout Spain. By provinces, BBVA highlights the falls in Huesca, Zaragoza, Barcelona, Guipuzkoa, Murcia, Navarra and Lleida, which have returned to levels close to the end of the state of alarm. As in tourism, July has been a kind of mirage: it seemed that things were recovering, but for the moment it falls again.
Until the imposition of new restrictions, the consumption in Spain recovered at two speeds. The provinces that first emerged from strict confinement and are not dependent on tourism recorded normal levels, even higher than last summer. By sector the reading is different, as food spending continues to skyrocket and has not returned to normal since those hoarding episodes in March, causing the average to be positive – while travel, accommodation and fashion continue to below normal.
In contrast, the tourism-dependent provinces and the city centers themselves continued, and continue, to low levels. “The neighborhoods are working better because people want to go out,” José Luis Yzuel, president of Hospitality of Spain, valued in this newspaper. This is perfectly seen in another indicator published by BBVA: that of spending with foreign cards, which has fallen by 54% in all of Spain and up to 80% in Madrid. The decline in tourist demand in urban destinations affected by outbreaks, such as Barcelona and Zaragoza, also accelerated last week, according to the bank.
Excluding Barcelona and Guipuzkoa, the regrowth provinces do not depend on tourism like the islands, where the epidemiological situation is better. However, restrictions imposed by foreign countries – with special mention of the mandatory quarantine decreed by the United Kingdom – are leaving “disastrous” situations for the economy.
“The decisions of Great Britain are much more affected than the cases of contagion”, explain sources from Ashotel, the Hotel Association of Tenerife, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera, which this Monday was news for detecting a positive after more than five months no contagions. In addition to card data, there are reservations and cancellations, which paint a very harsh reality for recovery.
“In the Canary Islands we were at 56% cancellation until July 26 and we have been increasing to 83% yesterday,” says Félix Pérez, account manager at the Mirai hotel reservation engine. “In the British market for all of Spain, specifically, in July we were at 39% cancellation and we have risen to 400%. The only thing that works now is the reserves for 2021 and the last-minute ones. Beyond the outbreaks are the recommendations from the countries. It is a real disaster. ”