Sunday, October 2

Balearic Islands enter poor Spain

The pandemic economic has been so hard for Baleares like the six waves of the coronavirus. Data from the National Institute of Statistics synthesized in Regional Accounting confirm that the community has entered poor Spain, a situation unheard of over the last half century.

In the classification of GDP per capita carried out by the INE, the Balearic Islands fell from the leading positions it traditionally occupied to ninth place. After having led the list for years, and having rubbed shoulders with Madrid, Catalonia, the Basque Country or Navarra, the archipelago is now overtaken by unexpected districts such as Cantabria or Castilla y León. Galicia is on your heels, just a hundred euros away. After having doubled Extremadura two decades ago, the current Balearic advantage with respect to said autonomy is less than twenty percent.

Still It is more shocking to see the Balearic Islands below the state average in 2020. Specifically, the individual income of 22,048 euros marks an appreciable distance with the 23,700 of a country punished with particular fury by the pandemic. Although the numerical evidence ends up being limited to a year marked by tourist paralysis, the numerical inferiority shakes the image of the archipelago as an enclave of particular wealth.

To warn of the magnitude of the disaster, the Balearic GDP per capita rose to 20,094 euros in 2000, only below Madrid and Navarra with exceptional fiscal situations. The state average was then at 15,975 euros. The archipelago exceeded that figure by 26 percent, an almost unacceptable gap within the same national unit. It took a decade for the gap to be reduced to a thousand euros, already below the ten percent margin. The pandemic has managed to reverse tradition.

The economic earthquake caused by the pandemic is perceived more clearly when comparing the Gross Domestic Product of 2020 with the previous year. The 34 billion of 2019, already taken as the pattern of an almost irrecoverable era, dwindled below 27 thousand. If the volatilization in absolute numbers of 7,400 million in a year already shows the vertigo of the fall, the interannual decline of almost 22 percent deepens its significance when verifying the impact on other autonomies.

The Balearic Islands is the only Spanish region that has lost more than twenty percent of its wealth as a result of the covid. The decline of 78.4 percent in 2020 compared to the previous year intensifies its ability to contrast, verifying that up to twelve communities managed to preserve more than ninety percent of their GDP in the last fattening year. Spain as a whole, with a prominent role in the global economic impact, remained despite this at 90.2 percent. Only countries like Peru, where the covid has had terrifying economic consequences, have experienced similar hits to the Balearic Islands.

Dissolved leadership

The temptation to place 2020 as a black swan, which must be extracted due to its uniqueness from the economic evolution of the Balearic Islands, dissolves when contemplating the continued decline in the indices linked to wealth. 25 years away, the spectacular leadership held until the mid-1990s has dissolved like an illusion.

The Balearic Islands not only led the regional ranking in GDP or wealth per capita at the end of the last century. The difference was so overwhelming that it could be spoken on the property of a different country. The archipelago became the only Spanish region above the European Union average, rubbing shoulders with the more prosperous territories of the northern countries.

Although the spectacular take-off of the Balearic economy slowed down during the same decade of the 1990s, the data for the year 2000 continued to be blushing for the other regions. The GDP adjusted to the population was far from the national average, despite the loss of leadership. At the beginning of the millennium there was still a clear border between rich and poor Spain, with the Balearic Islands firmly aligned in the first platoon.

As can be seen in the graph, the first decade of this century already showed the fatigue of the Balearic model anchored in tourism. Always above the state average, the difference narrowed to six percentage points. Six communities already overflowed the Balearic Islands at that time, surpassed by the take off of such surprising entities as Aragón or La Rioja. The rich community label was beginning to falter.

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The blow of 2020 accentuates the trend but does not reverse it, because the wear was announced. Seven points below the state average, the unfortunate transition from increasingly distant opulence to stagnation is confirmed, in the face of the strength of regions that to date did not play in the same league.

Although omicron has clouded the prospects for economic recovery, it is clear that the Balearic Islands will improve the 2020 figures in 2021. Without recovering in any case the seven billion euros lost compared to 2019, if the indication of a flow of tourists reduced by half is taken into account. And since the one who does not console himself is because he does not want to, the fall confirmed by the INE is less abrupt than the expectations of Ángel de la Fuente. The guru of regional financing placed the Balearic Islands in the thirteenth position at the end of 2020, with four other regions above and only four below.

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