Press release 17/02/2009


The GDP of the Basque Country grew by 2.0% in 2008

The year-on-year growth of the Basque economy was 0.4% in the fourth quarter of the year

The GDP of the Basque Country recorded a 2.0% year-on-year growth in 2008, according to EUSTAT data. There were notable differences in the evolution during the year, with significant growth in the first half of the year, over that level, and a second half with positive figures, even though they were under the annual average.

This rate is 0.8 percentage points over the figure for the Spanish economy (1.2%), 0.11 percentage points higher than the estimated figure for the EU-27 (0.9%) and 0.7 percentage points over that for the USA. (1.3%).

Graph 1. GDP m/p. Year-on-year growth rates. (%)


Source: Quarterly Economic Accounts, Eustat State Data: INE. EU-27, Euro Zone-15 and US data: EUROSTAT.

By sectors, this growth is fundamentally based on the service sector, both in terms of market and, particularly, non-market services, with 2.5% and 7.3% growth, respectively. Overall growth of the services stood at 3.3%.

Both industry and construction recorded near zero growth, with 0.2% positive for industry and -0.1% for construction.

The primary sector has had a more volatile year, which resulted in a downturn of -0.2% for the year as a whole.

Internal Demand, with growth of 1.9%, was down 2.5 points on the growth rate for 2007. Public Administration Spending was the most dynamic component of Internal Demand and registered a 5.9% increase.

The other two components of Internal Demand performed similarly: Private Consumer Spending grew by 1.1%, while Gross Capital Formation was up 1.4%. In the latter case, the negative trend was greatly accentuated in the second part of the year.

With regard to foreign trade, exports performed more positively (+4.5%) than import (+4.2%), with the foreign trade sector making a positive contribution.

The employment index grew by 1.1% on average, which meant a net of over 10,000 jobs were created, which meant than over one million twenty-five thousand people were employed. This service sector also underpinned this average growth for 2008 with a growth rate of 2.4% and 650,000 people employed. Industry (-0.4%) and, particularly, construction (-4.1%) experienced an accentuated cycle change in the second half of 2008. Finally, average employment of the primary sector was up 1.7%.

By provinces, and in terms of growth of the GDP, both Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, with identical annual growth of 2.0%, were ahead of Álava, whose rate stood at 1.8%. Employment grew in the three provinces, led by Bizkaia with a 1.2% increase, followed by Álava with 1.0% and Gipuzkoa with 0.9%.

The Basque GDP recorded year-on-year growth of 0.4% and a quarter-on-quarter downturn of -1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2008.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, the GDP of the Basque Country recorded real year-on-year growth of 0.4%. This growth rate was higher than that recorded for the same period by the Spanish Economy (-0.7%), the European Union 27 (-1.1%), the Euro Zone 15 (-1.2%) and for the US economy (-0.2%).

The quarter-on-quarter fluctuation of the GDP in the fourth quarter of 2008 with respect to the previous one came to -1.1%. Quarter-on-quarter variation stood at -1.0% for the Spanish economy, -1.5% for the average of the European Union 27 and the Euro Zone 15 and -1.0% for the US economy.

Table 1. GDP m/p. Supply. Chain volume indexes. Year-on-year growth rates (*). The Basque Country


(*) Data corrected for seasonal and calendar effects.

Source: Quarterly Economic Accounts. EUSTAT

From the point of the supply sectors, the service sector (+2.5%), in both its market and, fundamentally, non-market (services supplied by the Public Administration (+7.1%)) segments, was the only one to continue to record positive growth rates, unlike the rest of the economy which posted negative rates.

The Industrial Sector, with a year-on-year downturn of 2.8%, reported a level of activity under the GDP average. This figure was 3.3 percentage points lower than the previous quarter.

The Construction Sector, for the second consecutive quarter, recorded year-on-year negative growth rates, with the figure for the fourth quarter standing at -2.9%. The performance of civil works still continued to be more satisfactory, but was incapable of off-setting the negative evolution of the building sub-sector.

The Primary Sector had a more positive first half, while negative growth was recorded in the second part of the year. Specifically, there was a -1.2% decrease of the year-on-year rate in the fourth quarter.

Table 2. GDP m/p. Demand. Chain volume indexes. Year-on-year growth rates (*). The Basque Country


(*) Data corrected for seasonal and calendar effects.

Source: Quarterly Economic Accounts. EUSTAT

As far as Demand was concerned, the most important fact is the slowing down of Internal Demand by 1.9 percentage points with respect to the previous quarter, which meant there was zero growth (0.0%) in the fourth quarter. This fact together with rather better performance of the exports compared to imports meant that the foreign trade balance made a positive contribution to the growth of the economy.

When broken down by components, Final Household Expenditure (Private Consumer Spending) posted, for the first time in over a decade, a negative year-on-year growth rate of -0.4% (1.3 points down on the previous quarter), which explains the slowing down of Internal Demand.

Final Public Administration Expenditure (Public Administration Spending), which includes public expenditure on goods and services, was the only Internal Demand component that registered significant growth (6.1%), which meant slightly higher growth with respect to previous quarter.

Gross Capital Formation (Investment) was the Internal Demand variable that has been most hit and it lost four percentage points with respect to the year-on-year growth of the previous quarter and recorded a negative year-on-year rate of -2.2%.

Both the total exports and total imports suffered a downturn, which was more intense in the case of imports (-4.2%) than of exports (-3.8%). This fact, which is in keeping with the weakness of our Internal Demand and that of the surrounding economies, meant that the foreign trade balance made a positive contribution to the growth of the GDP.

The employment index posted negative year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter rates of 0.1% and 0.2%, which meant that there were 2,000 fewer people employed on average. Industry, and above all, construction, with negative year-on-year rates of -1.2% and -8.8% respectively, were the sectors with the poorest performance. The service sector, together with the primary sector to a lesser degree, recorded positive growth.

With reference to the evolution of the GDP by province, during this fourth quarter of 2008, Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa, with 0.4% and 0.5% year-on-year growth respectively, performed better than Álava, where growth stood at 0.1%.

For further information:

Basque Statistics Office C/ Donostia-San Sebastián, 1 01010 Vitoria-Gasteiz Tlf:+34-945-01 75 00 Fax:+34-945-01 75 01 E-mail: Contact: Javier Aramburu Tlf:+34-945-01 75 99 Fax:+34-945-01 75 01 Online press releases: Databank:

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The GDP of the Basque Country grew by 2.0% in 2008

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