Spain started the year with its economy falling by 5.2%. According to the National Statistics Institute (INE) last April and confirmed this Tuesday, this figure in relation to the first three months of the year is more than 5 points inside the figure recorded in the last quarter of 2019. The indicator, compared to the period from January to March a year earlier, also shows a fall of 4.1%, while from October to November 2019 the economy grew by 1.8% compared to in the previous year.
In fact, in the collection of data published by the statistical agency, almost everything is negative: national demand, for example, fell in the first quarter of 2020 by 3.7%, driven by the decline in final consumption of families (-5.8%). In turn, external demand fell by 0.4%, in this case with the export of goods and services as the sector with the largest fall recorded (-6.1%). Employment in the economy (calculated in terms of hours worked) is also 5% lower than in the previous quarter and is 4.2% below that of a year earlier.
From the point of view of supply, the most affected branch was trade, transport and hospitality, with economic activity 11.1% lower than in the previous quarter. After this branch, the largest falls are detected in artistic activities (-8.5%), professional, scientific and technical activities (-6.1%) and the field of telecommunications (-2.7 %). However, financial and insurance activities registered a quarterly increase of 3.4%.
Thus, the INE confirms that the Spanish economy recorded the largest decline since the beginning of the historical series. So far, the worst fall in GDP had been detected in the first quarter of 2009, in the midst of the financial crisis, and was 2.6%. In fact, the final balance sheet for the first quarter of the year worsened the forecasts of the Bank of Spain, which had calculated a decrease of 4.7%.
The savings rate grows
The effects of confinement have also been perceived in another indicator: Spanish families saved 11.2% of their disposable income in the first quarter of the year. They are almost 3 points more savings than had been detected in the previous quarter, as also published by the INE on Tuesday, and is the highest figure for a first quarter since 2003.
This growth is a direct consequence of the fall in household consumption, which fell to 172,515 million euros, and the increase in gross disposable income, which grew by 1.2%, to 176 billion euros. . In addition, according to these data, the remuneration of employees was 2.6% higher in the first quarter than in the same period last year.