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Weekly Report

Business over Tapas (Nbr. 362)

Business over Tapas (Nbr. 362)

  • A digest of this week's Spanish financial, political and social news aimed primarily at Foreign Property Owners: Prepared by Lenox Napier. Consultant: José Antonio Sierra

jueves 06 de agosto de 2020, 19:20h

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Editorial:

There used to be an old Irishman who lived in our village in Spain. He was a retired meteorologist from the United Nations based for many years in Peru.

My dad liked to joke that he would walk outside of his office on the top of some forgotten mountain once a day and solemnly lick his finger before raising it above his head.

I think it’s going to rain’ might be his verdict, which would then be telegraphed to HQ.

These days, things have moved on. A network of weathermen based around the world now stare solemnly at their computers and then they all sit up with a look of surprise: ‘It’s gonna be another hot one’ they say.

In Spain, we are melting from the heat. Unfortunately, I must take a couple of weeks away from the steaming computer as the help has gone on holiday, leaving me in charge of the horses: water, food and shovel.

BoT returns on August 27th (probably with sunburn and a bad back).

Housing:

From Idealista here: ‘The confinement derived from the coronavirus has caused teleworking to become a viable alternative for many citizens. Spain is one of the countries with the largest fibre-optic network in Europe, which could favour the movement of many workers towards small municipalities in search of more liveable environments and, above all, at a much cheaper price than in the cities.

Buying a home in a municipality with less than 5,000 inhabitants in Spain is 51.8% cheaper than the national average, according to a study we published. Acquiring a home in one of these pueblos has an average price of 834 euros / m2, while the average price for cities in Spain stood in June at 1,729 euros / m2…’.

From Spanish Property Insight here: ‘Boris Johnson’s sudden decision to impose a two week quarantine on all visitors returning to the UK from Spain is a blow to the holiday-home market, which was just starting to show some signs of recovery after the lock-down. Once the coronavirus appeared on the scene, 2020 was always going to be a disaster for the second-home market on the coast, but this latest move by the British government, which essentially hammers confidence in Spain over the summer, takes the biggest market out of the picture in what remains of the year’s property-sales season…’.

Maura Hillen (the past president of AUAN) writes on her blog Hillen about the function of the Power of Attorney (poder notarial).

How to make a house-sale easier… Gestión provides a guide to making the client see the attractions of your home here.

The Diario de Castilla y León says that ‘70% of the entire autonomous region is a demographic desert without inhabitants’.

Tourism:

Foreign tourism has collapsed says La Vanguardia, with a drop of 97.7% in June (INE figures). National tourism is also steeply down; with the overall result that some resorts are receiving as little as 15% of their normal figures.

The quarantine cripples Benidorm: 300,000 cancelled reservations and a shortfall of 200 million euros’. Five days after the announcement of the UK quarantine, the forecasts of the economic catastrophe that the hoteliers of Benidorm were envisioning has taken shape, said El Mundo last Thursday here.

Barcelona rethinks its reliance on tourism as bans keep foreigners away. Rulings by France and the UK have hit businesses in the Catalan capital particularly hard’. The Guardian reports here, ending with ‘…As Barcelona rethinks its future, many in city hall believe it should focus on being a cultural destination. Ferran Barenblit, director of the modern art museum Macba, said: “Nothing is going to be like it was before. There’s been a lot of damage done. We’ve got less money and we have to rethink many things.”’

The Canary Island tourist board won’t throw in the towel, says Hosteltur here, with its new campaign to attract British tourists. ‘No Quarantine Can Stop our Love’, it says bravely.

UK tourists would rather cancel a trip than enter quarantine or wear masks. YouGov poll is bad news for travel industry as uncertainty around Covid restrictions causes swathes of cancellations and redundancies’. Item from The Guardian here.

I have always maintained that Mojácar should concentrate on being a residential town. With a pandemic, or a natural disaster or a recession or better tourist offers in Cyprus, the tourist market is always potentially unsure. But with (what the Spanish are pleased to call) Residential Tourism, we are here all year, spend far more than a tourist does (a hundred times more than one tourist) and we respect and repair our community, rather than being sick in the flower-bed. There's no ministry or agency or promotion or advertising for this industry of encouraging foreigners to buy a 200,000€ house and an expensive car, but the Spanish in their wisdom put all their eggs in the tourist basket.

Which is broken.

Indeed, attracting retired people, with their pensions, plus ‘digital workers’, who can earn their bread from working at home (check out teletrabajo on Google), plus the workers who must attend them, plus the all-year business for supermarkets, banks, restaurants and bars, plus the taxes they bring, are all more useful today to smaller towns than ever before…

More at Spanish Shilling here.

Finance:

Sánchez finally decides to delay the proposed tax increase until Spain recovers the pre-Covid economic level’ says 20 Minutos here. The step-backwards is seen to be part of the President’s romancing of Ciudadanos says El Español here. The news-site also applauds the proposal to hold off of raising taxes and says that the business-sector hopes that the delay becomes permanent.

Wolf Street (which always reports the gloom) here looks at European banks. Notably the Santander and BBVA. It begins: ‘The Banco Santander, Spain’s largest lender and one of the Euro-zone’s eight global systemically important banks (G-SIBs), has posted its first ever loss in 163 years of operations. And it was gargantuan. During the first half of the year, the bank racked up a loss of €10,800 million ($12.7 billion)…’.

The Corner, a financial news-site from Spain in English, cheers us up again… ‘Spanish unemployment drops for the first time since February: 89,849 people find a job in July. In a month marked by the end of the confinement and the state of alarm, the number of unemployed fell in July by 89,849 compared to June, the first decline since the beginning of the pandemic and the largest since 1997 for that month. Furthermore, the average of Social Security affiliation stood at 18,785,554, which is 161,217 more than in June, the largest monthly increase since 2005 and the third consecutive month of recovery from the coronavirus impact…’.

Politics:

The Government is on its summer holidays says La Política Online, with the next item on the political agenda (if nothing crucial comes along beforehand) being a Council of Ministers booked for August 25th.

In the likely shake-up of ministers following the holidays, the one who can be assured of remaining is Pablo Iglesias says El Confidencial here. Sánchez with 22 ministries will probably cut some of them back says the item.

The second vice president of the Government, Pablo Iglesias, has admitted differences between the PSOE and Unidas Podemos regarding the situation of the King Emeritus Juan Carlos I, who in his opinion should not have left Spain, but has framed them within the “normality of democratic life ”…’. El Huff Post reports here.

Europe:

From Your Europe (official page of the European Union) here: ‘Brexit: how UK nationals and their family members resident in an EU country can stay there after 31 December 2020 – Spain’.

The Coronavirus:

From Marketwatch here: ‘A top coronavirus doctor in Spain has a message for revellers and tourists: ‘A couple of drinks, you take off your mask, you sing and you dance — now, that’s a problem’. An interview with Dr. Vicente Soriano, director of the UNIR Medical Centre in Madrid.

From El País in English here: ‘Coronavirus cases in Spain jump eightfold since end of state of alarm. In the 40 days since the emergency measure was lifted, the number of new infections has risen from 334 to 2,789’. This could be down to two things – the opening up of the remains of the summer season, and the agreement to allow the regional governments to handle the pandemic as they saw fit. On Wednesday, 1,772 new infections were reported across Spain says La Vanguardia here.

My adopted pueblo of Mojácar has been in the news recently. Four young tourists from Seville were found to have contracted the bug last week, after holidaying in Mojácar (the figure later rises to eleven)… ‘Various’ contagions of the coronavirus reported on Friday in Mojácar rose to 32 cases by Monday, with three local discos being closed down. Twenty six of the cases were waiters, according to Europa Press here, quoting the mayoress as saying it was ‘totally under control’. The Daily Mirror reported the occurrence here. Oh look, the story made The Sun as well! On Monday, a further seven active cases were discovered by the next door port of Garrucha and another six in the town of Turre (inland from Mojácar). The local health authorities then put out a notice asking for all people who had been in the Mojácar discos between July 24th and 31st to come forward for tests... (We await the results). Another tourist destination brings similar news: ‘The Balearic Islands breaks the record for coronavirus infections in a single day’. (Tuesday, 128 new cases reported).

Meanwhile, in another disco, this time in Torremolinos, a DJ (or a musician, reports vary) is filmed spitting Jägermeister on to the clients.

Media:

ElDiario.es attacks the leading media in Spain for its sundry manipulations and fake news regarding Podemos. ‘The editorial line of many media outlets considers the economic discourse of Unidas Podemos to be dangerous. It is something known since the appearance of the party on the Spanish political scene in 2014, and they have every right to consider the party’s positions so terrible as to combat them critically. It is acceptable and even convenient for both presenting the news and in articles of opinion. But when that editorial line transgresses the truth in a grotesque way, it loses all legitimacy until it becomes in itself one of the great problems of our democracy…’.

A presentation can be seen here on pdf of the editorial line of most Spanish news-sites.

Ecology:

Xataka says, ‘enjoy the heat-wave – because this is nothing compared to future summers…

Various:

The official Palace communication: Juan Carlos I de Borbón is to leave Spain and go into exile. El Mundo reminds us of the reasons here. Diario16 tells us that the ex-king will move to the Dominican Republic. By Tuesday, he was already there (a republic, as somebody points out). The much-suffering Queen Sofía remains in the La Zarzuela palace. The official Government opinion is to ‘respect’ the decision of the ex-monarch to go into exile and to applaud the ‘exemplarity and transparency’ of Felipe VI (here), with the vice-president Carmen Calvo saying on Wednesday that ‘the ex-king is not in flight from any legal cause’. Unidas Podemos seemed less sure of this, as they belatedly called for the arrest of the ex-king (here). The foreign press was unsympathetic about the sudden departure into exile but the Spanish (printed) press was kind. ‘The political parties are divided over the former king’s decision to leave Spain. The rift is also apparent within the coalition government of the Socialist Party and the leftist Unidas Podemos, which accuses the emeritus king of fleeing the justice system’. Thus says El País in English here. A piece from The Spectator (firewall) has a good summary here (if you can read it) titled ‘Juan Carlos’ exile may not save the Spanish monarchy’. It says ‘…For the moment, the monarchy is safe: August is Spain’s holiday month – and a good time to bury bad news. King Felipe will continue to work to improve the monarchy’s image, and will hope that the problem blows over. The worry, however, is that there will be further revelations about the ex-king in the autumn and winter, when many Spaniards are suffering the economic consequences of the pandemic…’. El Mundo is more direct: ‘The PP and Ciudadanos criticize Pedro Sánchez for not stopping Pablo Iglesias' (‘intolerable’) "attacks" on the Monarchy’. As for Vox, notes the article, ‘Sánchez’ betrayal’, says Abascal, ‘is as disgusting as his concealment of paedophile plots or drug money’. Err, Quite.

Giles Tremlett writing in Spanish at elDiario.es: ‘Exile will not stop the process. What is more worrying than the alleged private sins of a monarch, which are yet to be proven in court, is how far the ruling class in Spain has gone to protect him’. He has something to say in The Guardian as well.

From The New Yorker here (humour): ‘Americans Insanely Jealous of Spain After Corrupt Head of State Flees Country’

'Tommy Robinson, the British ultra who would expel the Spanish from the United Kingdom, moves to Spain’ says El Huff Post, adding: ‘We do not need a 'hooligan' who has been expelled from the political life and social networks of his country and who comes to use Spain as a base for his new adventures...’.

Corporal Martín, the highest-ranking gypsy in the Guardia Civil: "I suffer racism in my work every day"’. An article at El Español here.

'Médicos por la Verdad' is an anti-vaccine association that spreads hoaxes and conspiracies about the coronavirus. They defend not wearing face-masks, are against obligatory confinement and the “informative terrorism” of the Spanish media’. El Plural reports here.

Tivoli World in Benalmádena (Málaga) files for bankruptcy says The Olive Press here.

Labelling: don’t believe a word says elDiario.es here. How they fib and fiddle with their products in the supermarket.

As the Civil War began, and Málaga was taken by the rebel forces of General Queipo de Llano (Wiki) ‘a sangre y sexo’, many civilians took to flight, on foot, along the coastal road to Almería. En route, they were bombed and strafed in what has become remembered as La Desbandá. The story is remembered with video by LaSexta here.

The ‘Costa del Sol’ was originally the entire stretch of the Spanish Mediterranean and was baptised thus in 1928 by an Austro-Hungarian businessman based in Almería called Rodolfo Lussnigg (Wiki) while promoting international fairs in both Seville and Barcelona. He is also remembered for his phrase: ‘Almería, where the sun passes the winter months’.

See Spain:

A nice article on Cáceres (Extremadura) is from Eye on Spain here.

Krista the Explorer brings us ‘Nine things you need to do in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz’ here.

The seven most beautiful monasteries in La Rioja are at elDiario.es here.

Letters:

Muy interesante y bien preparado este boletín

Gracias

Alberto Bosque Coello

Consejería de Cultura y Turismo

Fundación Siglo para el Turismo y las Artes de Castilla y León

Finally:

Spain’s former King Juan Carlos I said he plans to leave the country he ruled for almost four decades, the latest attempt to quell a furore over allegations of wrongdoing by the once revered ex-monarch. A short Bloomberg video. Spanish with English subtitles.

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