Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s just upgraded Spain’s economy, raising the country’s credit rating from BBB to BBB+.
Spain has a stable outlook too — though it’s heavily indebted, S&P is confident about Spain’s buoyant growth prospects and labour market reforms.
Though it had a huge recession that’s left the country with eye-watering unemployment levels (still over 20%), the country has been held up as an example of the rebound other southern European countries could experience if they passed a comprehensive set of reforms.
It’s a pretty glowing report. Here’s what they say, in their own words:
The upgrade reflects our view of Spain’s strong, balanced economic performance over the past four years, which is gradually benefiting public finances. We now expect real GDP growth to average 2.7% over 2015-2017 versus our previous forecast of 2.2% after our review in April this year. Combined with our projection of the GDP deflator at about 0.6% this year, this implies nominal GDP growth of 3.8% in 2015 and more than 4% for the next three years, compared with average nominal GDP contraction of about 0.9% from 2011-2014. A shift toward consistently higher real and nominal growth would benefit Spain’s debt dynamics, given that the Spanish Treasury refinances central government and regional debt at an average cost of less than 1%.
Some of Spain’s growth drivers–including front-loaded tax cuts, lower oil prices, and a weaker exchange rate–are likely to fade. Others–including labor and other structural reforms, as well as easier financing conditions–will, in our view, contribute permanently to Spain’s more dynamic recovery than peers’. One key change is that the Spanish economy is more open than it was seven years ago. Although external risks continue to overshadow any growth model based on net exports, Spain has a strong track record of gaining international market share in goods and services. By the end of 2015, we expect exports to represent about 34% of Spain’s GDP versus 25% in 2008.
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