Living in Spain - Commerce

Spain’s Commercial Growth

2004 estimate is an industrial production growth rate of 1.6% and a GDP real growth rate of 2.4%

Spain is comprised of 50 provinces in 17 autonomous regions: Andalusia, Aragón, Asturias, Balearic Islands, Basque Country (País Vasco), Canary Islands, Cantabria, Castile-La Mancha, Castile-León, Catalonia, Extremadura, Galicia, La Rioja, Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, and Valencia.

The gross domestic product in 2002 was $653.1 billion. The national budget in 1997 included revenues of $160.8 billion and expenditures of $183.8 billion.

Total Spanish Population: 2003 est. 40,290,000 Population growth rate 0.16%

Principle Industries of Spain

Agriculture Employs, with forestry and fishing, 6 percent of the labour force. The main agricultural products are grapes, olives, oranges, almonds, cereal grains such as rice, barley and wheat, vegetables such as tomatoes and onions, also root crops, potatoes and sugar beets.

Livestock Sheep and goats are an important industry. Livestock on farms in 2003 included 23.8 million sheep, 23.5 million pigs, 6.5 million cattle, and 238,000 horses.

Forestry The principal forest resource of Spain is the cork-oak tree. The annual production of cork in the late 1980s was more than 52,000 metric tons, even so, Spain is still not self sufficient and needs to import to maintain its industrial needs.

Fishing The Spanish fisherman’s’ main catch consists of sardines, mussels, tuna, hake and squid. The recorded catch of 1.4 million metric tons in 2001 gives an indication of how important this industry is to the Spanish economy

Mineral wealth Coal and iron-ore mining are major industries, these are mainly situated in the north around Santander, Bilbao, Ovieda etc, whilst large mercury reserves are located in Almadén, in south-western Spain, and copper and lead are mined in Andalusia.

The iron and steel industry in the early 1990s centred in Bilbao, Santander, Oviedo, and Avilés and was reported as producing some 12.7 million metric tons of crude steel and 5.7 million tons of pig iron annually.

Manufacturing Textiles, clothing, footwear, iron and steel, motor vehicles, ships, boats, chemicals, cement and refined petroleum are all amongst the wide range of Spanish industries.

Wine production Spain has a vineyard area of over 1.2 million hectometres, equivalent to approximately 3,750,000 acres of vines which produce over 7 million tons of grapes which are turned into about 1.100,000,000 gallons of wine. This makes Spain one of the world’s leading wine producers. Consumption of wine in Spain is estimated to be around 1,150,000,000 litres.

Tourism & Immigration The latest addition to Spain’s economic growth. Whilst most Spaniards appreciate the benefits in both employment opportunity and wealth that this brings, in some areas the influx of immigrants into some coastal towns has almost swamped the indigenous residence and caused considerable problems in the areas of education, administration, policing and the supply of utility services, particularly in relation to the supply of drinking water.

Problems - In particular the potential Émigré pays too little attention to researching local customs, conditions, language, needs and problems of the area in which he buys a property. They rely far too greatly on (or are taken in) by the slick, over simplified, English property advertising and also by TV programs (many of which seem very poorly researched). Both types of media are interested solely in sales or number of viewers with little concern for the Buyer/Viewer and how he eventually fares.

For a review of some of the major problems encountered by those relocating to Spain, read my article Property Pitfalls

Statistics of Tourism & Emigration to Spain

It is estimated that Spain receives some 50 million visitors each year

The Spanish Association of Building Promoters state that there are some 300,000 holiday homes owned by non residents in the Alicante region alone. There are also statistics showing that 15% are owned by Brits, that is 45,000. Another survey proclaims that some 50% of these considered they will eventually contemplate retiring to Spain. Additionally, there are a further 7% (21,000) owned by Belgian, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, a large proportion of whom have English as a second language.

The New Statesman 2nd August 2004 published an article which estimated that British nationals owned 750,000 properties in Spain, whilst another Poll estimated that the main objective of 50% of these second home owners was to fully emigrate as early as possible.

In the year 2000, official records showed there were 361,437 non-Spanish, registered property owners in Spain, mainly in the South and Madrid. Since then it is estimated that this number has increased by 7% per year.

Disclaimer: I apologise for any errors or inconsistencies found in this data. Whilst care is taken to research as accurately as possible, I can accept no responsibility for anyone acting on the information shown, it is simply offered as a brief guide to this beautiful country.

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