The economic outlook has improved slightly for companies and experts. However, inflation remains a headache and will continue to distort the picture for several months. According to the PwC Economic Consensus, published yesterday, experts place the consumer price index (CPI) at 4.1% in June 2023, to drop to 3.8% at the end of the year. When asked about their pricing policy, 60% say they expect to increase them compared to 40% who say they will maintain them.

Contrary to what might be expected, only 29% say that the increase is due to the increase in salary costs compared to 67% who attribute it to “other costs”, in reference to energy or transport.

For all these reasons, 82% expect interest rates to be between 3% and 3.75% next June. By the end of the year, they rise 25 points, up to 37%, those who bet that could touch 4.25%.

Once the risk of recession has been overcome, the experts consulted are moderately optimistic about the evolution of the Spanish economy in 2023 thanks, above all, to the good performance of exports and the fact that household consumption seems to continue holding up over the next six months. Those surveyed by PwC increase their estimates of growth in activity in 2023 by three tenths –from 1.1% to 1.4%– and expect that, in 2024, GDP will grow by 2.1%.

The opinion of the panelists moves towards more optimistic positions than in the previous consensus, corresponding to the fourth quarter of last year. Those who think that the Spanish economy will evolve for the worse next quarter drop notably –from 71.8% to 16.8%–, and those who believe that within a year it will be better. Only 23% expect more difficulties. It seems that the uncertainty related to the war in Ukraine weighs less and less on the economic outlook.

Behind this recovery is the economic situation of the companies: only 8% rate it as bad, and 92% as good or fair. A solidity that is based on the good evolution of exports, which in the next six months will increase or remain stable for 90% of those surveyed.

The edition of the economic consensus, corresponding to the first quarter of 2023, also analyzes the perception of Spanish businessmen and managers regarding the measures necessary to combat the structural deficit of the economy.

The responses of the panelists show a general concern about the situation of the accounts and the increase in public spending. 63.2% say that the state of public finances has not been sufficiently corrected after the 2008 crisis, and the pandemic has reached an excessive imbalance. And 76% estimate that after the anti-crisis package approved at the end of 2022 – which included a check for families, VAT reduction, support for public transport expenses – there is a high probability that the expenses of the Public Administrations will exceed the originally budgeted figures. . In fact, 54% and 55%, respectively, consider that there is a high risk of failing to meet the deficit targets for 2023 and those planned for 2025 in the convergence plans.

On the other hand, 77.8% believe that the budgets for 2023 are clearly conditioned by the election year, 70% believe that there may be discretionary deviations from public spending and 65% estimate that the increase in the cost of public debt will be higher than government projections. In addition, 69% consider that spending on pensions puts the sustainability of public finances at risk.

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By Nail

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