An analysis of Spanish exports post-COVID-19: An opportunity in times of change?
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This paper analyses the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has shifted the Spanish economy’s international competitiveness, creating new opportunities for Spanish businesses. While the drop in Spanish imports and exports post-COVID-19 (close to 40% year-on-year) was comparable to the contraction sustained in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the rebound, with year-on-year growth in exports of over 70% in April 2021, has been far more dynamic.
This raises the question of whether Spain is simply catching-up after trade flows were interrupted in 2020 or whether this is the beginning of a significant structural change in Spanish trading patterns. Although it is still too soon to provide a clear answer to that question, initial data point to a structural shift. Spain’s long-standing non-energy trade deficit turned into a surplus in the first half of 2021.
Additionally, the food industry was the sector which made the biggest contribution to the recovery in exports, fuelled mainly by non-EU markets. The fact that the food sector is a core component of Spain’s export effort, and has a history of robust export-oriented productive capacity, is a possible indicator of a structural improvement in the Spanish economy’s international positioning.