More than 500 companies had left Catalonia, changing their legal address, after the referendum for independence. Among the companies are dozens of major businesses, such as Sabadell, CaixaBank and Gas Natural Fenosa.
Spain’s Economy Minister, Luis de Guindos, has already admitted that the crisis in Catalonia will leave a trail in the economy and diminish the growth of gross domestic product. The autonomous province accounts for 20% of Spain’s GDP, and instability after the referendum leads investors to abandon their projects. Luis de Guindos is categorical that the economic situation in the region depends on the decisions of the provincial government in the coming days.
Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría also estimated that investment in Catalonia has fallen by 10%, while Spain has grown by 13%. The most disadvantaged is the tourism sector, with hotel accommodation in Barcelona falling by 20-30% in recent weeks.
In its forecast, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recorded growth in Spain’s economy from 3.1% in 2017, and in 2018 from 2.5%. Institution Director Christine Lagarde urged the parties to end political instability in Catalonia as soon as possible.
Now there are three possible scenarios in front of Catalonia. In the first place, the province can leave Spain, but even under the most favorable conditions (Madrid’s permission, stay in the EU and etc), the effect on the economy will be severe.
The second option is for Catalonia to declare independence and to leave the EU without being recognized by other European countries. This will lead to a mass escape of companies from the province, which will be a severe blow not only for Catalonia but also for the whole of Spain.
Even more will be the withdrawal of the business in case the third scenario – an open confrontation, which is the least likely.