Catalan economy grows an insufficient 15.7% in the third quarter

GDP falls by 9.1% compared to a year ago and is far from recovering lost ground

The gross domestic product of Catalonia (GDP) increased by 15.7% in the third quarter in comparison with the second quarter, when confinement took place, according to data published this Thursday by the Statistical Institute of Catalonia (Idescat) and the Department of the Vice Presidency and Economy.

However, this rebound has been insufficient to recover all the lost ground, since in the second quarter the fall was 16.3%. With respect to the third quarter of last year, the Catalan economy plummeted 9.1% between June and September.

This interannual fall of the Catalan GDP is higher than for the Spanish state (8.7%), and the European Union average, which registered a decrease of 3.9%.

In the third quarter, all of the economic sectors in Catalonia presented negative interannual variation rates, but the intensity of the falls was much lower than the values registered in the second quarter. This situation was made possible by the normalisation of economic activity in most sectors, as a result of an improvement in the health situation and the end of the state of alarm. The third quarter accounts only for the period between the de-escalation and the current resurgence of covid-19, which has led to new restrictive measures, such as the closure of bars and restaurants, which will have an impact on the economic evolution of the fourth quarter.

The evolution of the industry shows a year-on-year rate of -8.2%. The recovery in the third quarter was important, since in the second quarter the year-on-year rate was -19.4%. Some of the most significant branches of the Catalan economy (food, chemicals and pharmaceuticals) practically recovered the production they had last year.

The automotive industry reinforced its activity in the month of September and plans to recover part of the production lost in recent months. There are some activities such as the production of electrical energy and graphic arts that show a trend towards a slower recovery and maintain levels of activity well below those registered last year.

Fall in services and construction

The service sector recorded a significant reduction in activity (-9.3%), but this implies a notable recovery with respect to the previous quarter (which fell by 20.5%). The end of the restrictions on mobility and the opening of borders due to the end of the state of alarm made it possible to partially reactivate all tourism-related activities, indicated the Department of Economy.

Some activities such as air traffic and travel agencies only recovered slightly from the previous quarter, since the fall in foreign tourism has been significant in an international context where significant restrictions on free movement of travellers have been maintained.

In contrast, hotels and restaurants were more active thanks to domestic tourism, but still far from the levels achieved the previous year. Some branches such as telecommunications, postal services and computer-related activities recovered their activity very quickly and even surpassed last year's figures.

Other service activities such as land and sea transport and vehicle trade maintained an improvement over the previous quarter, although they did not achieve activity for 2019 either. Finally, within services, as was the case in the previous quarter, the increase in services provided to public administrations stands out.

Activity in construction decreased 7.6% as compared with the same period the previous year, representing a significant improvement as compared with the previous quarter (-28.0%). Agriculture maintained the negative trend of previous quarters with a rate of -2%.

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