The Spanish economy registered an annual fall of 9.1% in the fourth quarter that placed the decline in the year as a whole at 11%, as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic , which paralyzed activity especially in the second quarter and part of the first with a general confinement l.
But in the fourth quarter it managed to stay in positive territory , with a rise of 0.4% compared to the third. The main relief occurred during the summer , but as of September the number of infections grew again and economic activity was affected by new restrictions.
The Government , which initially estimated a fall in activity of around 9%, ended up placing it at 11.2% in the estimates included in the budget plan sent to Brussels. The unparalleled economic downturn in peacetime interrupted a six-year cycle of growth in a row .
One of the great unknowns was the evolution in the fourth quarter of 2020, which began with a certain positive tone but which slowed down as a result of the second wave of the pandemic , despite including a stage of incitement to consumption such as Black Friday and the Christmas holidays .
Despite the fact that most organizations continued to estimate that the gross domestic product (GDP) was going to return to negative territory in the last three months of the year, including the Bank of Spain , with a quarter-on-quarter decline of 0.8%; optimistic messages were launched from the Executive. First it was the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, who predicted a rise of 2.4% in the fourth quarter.
And then by the third vice president and Minister of Economy, Nadia Calviño . One of the elements that invited a certain positivism was the reduction of workers subject to temporary employment regulation files (erte). Of the 4.7 million in that situation in the second quarter, it went to 3.5 million in the third and 1.8 million in the fourth quarter .
As the exercise progressed, some forecasts were improving until this week in which the International Monetary Fund ( IMF ), lowered the magnitude of the collapse from 12.8% that it had estimated last October to 11.1% , which continued being the largest of all economies.
After a first quarter in which the general confinement as a consequence of the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was noticed in the last fortnight of March and the gross domestic product (GDP) experienced a decrease of 5.3% and 4, 2% in interannual terms, the second had the greatest impact, with an unprecedented quarter-on-quarter collapse of 17.9% and 21.6% interannual.
In the summer period, after the lifting of the restrictions, there was an also unprecedented quarter-on-quarter rebound of 16.4% which, even so, maintained the fall of the whole activity in year-on-year terms at 9%. After the summer and after having come out of the technical recession(two consecutive quarters of falls) the restrictions were increasing again, especially in the hospitality industry .