In-depth country-focused analysis on Spain's economic, political and operational risk environment, complemented by detailed sector insight


As the fourth largest eurozone economy, Spain offers a wealth of opportunity for investors and is an important market for many of our clients. The past three decades have seen a significant transformation in the country, with a move from dictatorship into democracy, the embracing of the EU, and the adoption of the euro. Spain emerged from deep recession after the eurozone financial crisis, to be one of the eurozone's fastest growing economies in 2014 and 2015, but key risks continue to cloud Spain’s longer term outlook.

We keep our clients informed of the latest market moves and political developments as part of our 'top-down' and 'bottom-up' perspective. They also benefit from in-depth analysis on 18 of Spain’s most important industries. We provide interactive data and forecasting alongside detailed and risk-assessed analysis from our results-proven research teams. We aim to keep you ahead of the curve so you can operate with confidence in Spain.

Country Risk

Spain Country Risk

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Core Views

  • Spain's economy has exited crisis mode, with the country set to become a eurozone outperformer in 2015 and 2016.

  • Uncertainty surrounding the 2015 parliamentary election and the possible composition of the next government poses one of the biggest risks to Spain's economic recovery.

  • The era of export-driven economic growth is over in Spain. Recovering domestic demand, coupled with stuttering export growth, will ensure that the country's current account surplus shrinks over the coming quarters.

  • Low oil prices and subdued consumer spending will continue applying disinflationary pressures in Spain in 2015.

  • The era of austerity is over in Spain, with fiscal consolidation to progress at a slower pace as the 2015 parliamentary election nears....

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Spain Industry Coverage (18)


Spain Agribusiness

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BMI View: Livestock prices have held up relatively well in the EU despite the impact of Russia's embargo, and Spanish pig carcass prices remain elevated compared to other EU producers, while pork exports further afield are going from strength to strength. We therefore expect to see continued growth for Spain's most important livestock commodity. Grain producers will be feeling less positive after a sharp drop in yields for wheat and barley and a fall in corn acreage due to irrigation concerns. We do not expect this to have any effect on livestock production, as other EU producers have enjoyed a strong harvest and will be looking to export feed grains. The dairy sub-sector is adapting to a new legislative framework under the EU's milk package, which could lead to...

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Spain Autos

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BMI forecasts a 10.4% increase in vehicle sales in 2015 coming from a forecasted 11.0% increase in the passenger car segment and a 6.3% increase in the commercial vehicle (CV) segments. Past 2015, we forecast growth to remain steady, averaging 5.5% from 2016 to the end of our five-year forecast period in 2019, which will prevent Spain's vehicle markets from reaching volumes similar to pre-crisis levels.

BMI forecasts 11.0% growth in passenger car sales in 2015, to 949,391 units. This is owing to the introduction of the government's new PIVE scheme as well as modest improvements in private consumption in the country. However, we stress that Spain's auto sector recovery is based on shaky foundations and remains reliant on the government's PIVE scheme. Given the countries weak macroeconomic picture, we do not believe that a strong and sustainable recovery in sales...

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Commercial Banking

Spain Commercial Banking

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Commercial Banking Sector Indicators
Date Total assets Client loans Bond portfolio Other Liabilities and capital Capital Client deposits

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Defence & Security

Spain Defence & Security

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BMI View:  In our view, Spain faces low security risks in terms of international conflict, interstate conflict and criminal activity. The country's high scores in our security risk ratings are bolstered by Spain's friendly relations with international states and European neighbours as well as its decreasing involvement in Afghanistan.

BMI's Spain Defence & Security report examines Spain's defence procurement priorities in detail. It also provides information regarding Spanish defence spending levels, the posture and doctrine of the country's armed forces and Spanish defence and security priorities.

We expect Spain to spend USD14.9bn on defence in 2014. On average, the country has spent USD12.9bn annually on defence between 2011 and 2013. The level of defence spending has fluctuated during this period as a direct result of...

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Food & Drink

Spain Food & Drink

Freight Transport

Spain Freight Transport

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BMI View: The worst is over for the Spanish economy, and consequently its freight sector. Following years of contraction across freight modes, there were signs of recovery in 2014, and we expect volumes to continue on this upward trend in 2015. We caution however that the freight sector remains overly reliant on export demand, particularly from Spain's main eurozone partners, many of which are not in rude health themselves.

Headline Industry Data

  • Air freight volume is set to grow by 1.6% to reach 597,800 tonnes in 2015. Medium-term growth (to 2019) will average 2.1% per annum.

  • Tonnage handled at the port of Algeciras will grow by 6.60% to reach 103.17mn tonnes, with medium-term growth averaging 5.8% per annum.

  • Boxes handled at the port of Valencia...

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Spain Infrastructure

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BMI View : Despite a slight downwards revision to our estimated 2014 Spanish infrastructure industry growth figure, we maintain our positive outlook for a return to growth in 2015 after seven years of recession. Rail, supported by a rejuvenated confidence surrounding public works and housing demand, is expected to be the key driver of growth, with limited investment in the power sector anticipated owing to sharp policy changes. The recovery will be gradual, however, with the government's precarious fiscal position and a fragile economic recovery weighing on the industry.

Spain's construction industry has suffered a severe and...

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Spain Insurance

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BMI View: Spain boasts one of the biggest and most developed insurance markets in Europe, which is home to a number of large multi-national insurers as well as well-capitalised local providers. However, market growth has been hampered by the prolonged effects of the country's economic crisis which has severely dented the spending and investment potential of households and businesses alike . In the life insurance segment in particular we note that both density and penetration of insurance coverage remains lower than in most Western European markets, which is in part a reflection of high levels of household indebtedness in the run-up to the...

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Medical Devices

Spain Medical Devices

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BMI Industry View: The Spanish medical device market ranks fifth in Western Europe (WE) but per capita expenditure is low by WE standards. Most of the market is accountable to the public sector, which has been affected by cost-containment measures implemented in the National Health System (SNS) under Royal Decree Law 16/2012, impacting medical device expenditure. We forecast low market growth over the 2013-2018 period, as pre-crisis...

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Spain Metals

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BMI View: The outlook for Spain's metals sector is steadily improving once more, with production increases paving the way for a lagging uptick in production too. After a contraction in both domestic steel consumption and production of three and four years, respectively, from 2011 onwards, BMI   estimates a more positive environment of growth on both fronts going forward. Output in Spain returned to growth in 2013 with a 4.49% y-o-y increase in activity to 14,252,000 tonnes, followed by an estimated increase of 1.2% y-o-y in 2014 to 14,423,000 tonnes with...

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Oil & Gas

Spain Oil & Gas

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BMI View: Although current domestic production of oil and gas is negligible, with imports meeting around 99% of current demand, we are witnessing a gradual but notable uptick in investment targeting Spain's upstream. The acceleration of onshore and offshore activity could cut Spain's hefty import bill, but there are political and regulatory risks that hold sizeable downside risks to both conventional and unconventional efforts. However, the environment ministry has recently allowed deepwater drilling off the Canary Islands and the Supreme Court has granted Repsol the authorisation to start exploration after the permit had been legally challenged by local authorities. Despite this success, the company announced it had abandoned the project in January 2015 after initial exploration proved unsuccessful. In November 2013 the central government legalised the process of hydraulic fracturing. However, while we...

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Spain Petrochemicals

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Spain is seeing a restructuring of its petrochemicals sector with a pick-up in merger and acquisition activity. This should encourage foreign investment and greater integration with global markets, according to BMI's latest Spain Petrochemicals Report.

The liquidation of La Seda de Barcelona (LSB) was completed in Q115 following the sale of its packaging subsidiary APPE to US-based Plastipak Packaging for EUR360mn. This follows the purchase of a PET polymer plant and a chemicals facility, both in Spain, for EUR29.4mn by the diverse Badajoz, Spain-based group Cristian Lay. Other PET plants in Italy and Turkey were sold to the leading global PET producer Indorama group of Thailand.

Meanwhile, Cepsa is in negotiation with a potential buyer of two polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and purified terephthalic acid (PTA) production plants, including...

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Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

Spain Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare

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BMI View: The Spanish economy has exited the crisis stage and will post relatively strong real GDP growth rates compared to most other major eurozone economies over the next few years. However, we believe government spending will have a negligible impact on growth over the next few years, despite austerity being rolled back. We hold a bearish outlook for the pharmaceutical market in Spain and forecast that spending will continue its downward trajectory until 2018. The government's pro-generic drug stance will continue to negatively impact prescription drug expenditure, creating challenges for innovative drug makers operating in the country.

Headline Expenditure Projections

  • Pharmaceuticals: EUR23.02bn (USD30.85bn) in...

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Spain Power

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BMI View : Spain's electricity market is struggling in the face of a new regulatory environment and a sluggish economy. Keen to cut costs, the government has reduced renewable energy subsidies, but it risks the wrath of providers who invested in the market expecting high returns.

In June 2014 the government approved a retroactive policy to replace feed-in tariff in an attempt to bring down the rate of return on renewable investments from 20% to 7.5%. The new formulas and tables to be used in the renewable industry poses significant threats to the industry's growth. We expect non-hydro renewables capacity to grow by an annual average of 1.9% between 2015 and 2024; a marked slowdown from previous growth rates of 16.4% between 2004 and 2013.

Iberdrola's poor 2014 financial results for the Spanish region,...

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Spain Renewables

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BMI View: Spain's efforts to rejuvenate its renewables industry by following a more cautious and controlled approach to attracting investment is a positive development for the sector and presents upside to our 10-year renewables growth forecasts. The success of the approach will be highly dependent on the ability of renewable energy developers and financiers to overlook previous high levels of policy uncertainty in the market.

A number of regulatory changes over 2013 and the beginning of 2014 have rocked Spain's renewables industry. Coupled with the country's depressed economic picture, these reforms have dented investor confidence and created difficulties for renewable energy operators.

Key Trends And Developments

  • In December 2014, Gamesa gained a contract to provide...

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Spain Telecommunications


Spain Tourism

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BMI View : Spain, given its pleasant climate and a good range of activity options, has historically been one of the most popular holiday destinations globally, especially for tourists from within Europe. When the global financial crisis hit Europe, however, Spain's tourism industry was seriously affected, as many potential tourists could not afford to travel. Although perhaps slightly more sluggish in its recovery than some other European economies, Spain is now looking forward to strong growth over the coming years, due in no small part to the once again increasing tourist numbers from a rejuvenated Europe. The country is also benefiting from the situations...

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Spain Water

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BMI View: This quarter we have upgraded and expanded our water forecasts for Spain to include desalination and reservoir extraction and losses . Overall, we expect that extraction and consumption levels will see an incremental decline, as more conservative usage habits in both domestic and agricultural consumers start to come into effect.

Spain's economic recovery will remain unbalanced in 2015. Real GDP growth is likely to remain overly dependent on net exports, while household spending remains tepid. This is reflected by a lack of inflationary pressures in the country, which continues to act as a deterrent for potential investors and constricts the maintenance and modernisation of the water and wastewater...

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Latest Spain Articles

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