Most companies believe that the first signs of improvement won’t come until 2022.
The pandemic has left an academic debate about what shape the economic recovery will take after the first semester crash. The improvement is proposed by some in the form of a V, others speak of a U and there are even those who draw an L. The Spanish managers, without opting for any letter of the alphabet, do have it clear: there are still many curves on the road before singing victory. Recovery will be slow and a return to normality on the main indicators will not be achieved until 2022 at the earliest.
The Barometer of Companies carried out by Deloitte for EL PAÍS among 185 companies reflects that slightly more than half (53%) foresees a worsening of the economy in the second half of 2020. Its predictions are in line with the forecasts made by the IMF, which calculates a fall of 12.8% of Spanish GDP in 2020, and by the Bank of Spain, which predicts a collapse of between 9% and 11.6%. “The situation for companies in the coming months will be complicated. The loss of activity in many sectors has been very intense, has generated debt, and it will take time to recover ”, summarizes Iñigo Fernández de Mesa, vice president of the CEOE employer association. 34% of employers speak of “recession” for the next 12-18 months and 29% foresee a “stagnation”.
The first green shoots will not come until at least the second half of 2021. They will be moderate and uneven by economic sector. More than half of the companies consulted by Deloitte (53%) consider that tourism revenues will not recover until that second half of 2021. 35% of companies also opt for that date when it comes to improving vehicle registrations. Instead, the employment rate tops the list of variables that will recover from 2022, as well as bank loan delinquency. In any case, managers believe that the consequences of the pandemic on the Spanish economy in the next 18 months will be worse than in the eurozone and, even, in the United States.
“In 2021, the level of activity may be at least 4% lower than in 2019, or even significantly less if the worst scenarios occur. For this reason, it will take between one and two more years, from 2022, to recover the levels prior to the pandemic, and it will depend on the growth rate that we manage to have, ”says Fernández de Mesa. The worst part is borne by SMEs. Between April and May 9% disappeared, more than 133,000 companies, according to data from the General Directorate for Industry and SMEs. Only in commerce, it is estimated that around 20% of businesses will not raise the blind again. “There are sectors where the situation is absolutely dramatic and if the crisis continues, between 30% and 40% of SMEs in these sectors can close with the very serious consequences that this would have and the tens of thousands of jobs destroyed,” says Luis Aribayos, director of Economy and Digital Transformation of Cepyme.