Publications

International economy

From this page you can access thematically grouped Analytical Articles published in the Economic Bulletin from 1999, ordered by date of dissemination within each year.

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  • 04/12/2020
    Brexit: situation and economic consequences (336 KB) Alejandro Buesa, Coral García, Iván Kataryniuk, César Martín-Machuca, Susana Moreno and Moritz Roth

    The effective departure of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU) opens up a new period of relations between the two areas. The current health crisis limits economic policies’ room for manoeuvre to accommodate the costs of transitioning to a new economic relationship, whatever final form it may take. This article describes the most recent developments in the negotiation process and outlines three possible scenarios for the future EU-UK trading relationship, providing simulations of the potential macroeconomic impact in each case. Moreover, the recent trend in trading and financial relations between the United Kingdom and Spain is set out in a box.

  • 29/10/2020
    China: impact of the pandemic and economic recovery (476 KB) Alejandro Buesa

    The favourable course of the pandemic from early March onwards prompted the Chinese government to gradually ease the most stringent measures taken to fight COVID-19 that had been in force since January, relaxing confinements at home and the restrictions on both mobility and the pursuit of economic and business activity. This article describes the main features of the phase of economic recovery in China so far in 2020. These notably include, in first place, the considerable progress already made in the economic recovery in the country as a whole, although it was initially more lagged in Hubei province, where the pandemic originated. Second, people’s movements have gradually returned to normal, reaching pre-crisis levels in early October. Third, industrial activity has seen a swift recovery, albeit one partially underpinned by temporary factors, such as supplying the demand of other economies with lockdown measures in force. Moreover, services activity, which requires a high degree of social interaction, still lags. Fourth, as regards spending, the consumption of durable goods has recovered more slowly, while the saving rate has increased, which could be attributable to precautionary motives. Lastly, the pandemic appears to have exerted overall downward pressure on inflation in the country as a whole. Nevertheless, it may not be possible to fully extrapolate the experience of China to other economies, owing to the combination of some specific factors, such as the health strategy pursued and, in the economic sphere, the temporary but notable support of the external sector through manufacturing exports.

  • 08/10/2020
    Report on the Latin American economy. Second half of 2020 (1 MB) International Economics and Euro Area Department

    Economic activity in Latin America has been drastically affected by the COVID-19 global health crisis, although this has been partly mitigated by economic policy actions taken by national authorities and multilateral institutions. As in other parts of the world, these actions have, in many cases, included new measures, with respect to previous crises, such as, for the first time in the region, the widespread use of unconventional monetary policy instruments. Despite these actions, Latin America may record a drop in GDP of close to 8% in 2020, the largest in recent decades and notably larger than those in other emerging regions. In recent months, despite less support from international capital flows than in previous recoveries, activity has started to recover. This is expected to continue in the short term, although the recovery will be uneven across economies, gradual and subject to a high degree of uncertainty. In the medium term, the region’s growth outlook is also subject to considerable uncertainty, mainly linked to the doubts regarding the future course of the pandemic. Generally, downside risks predominate, given that the region’s pre-existing vulnerabilities may be amplified by the persistence of the crisis. The area’s banking systems have also been hit by the economic deterioration, but have displayed notable resilience in this first phase of the crisis. From the economic policy viewpoint, this scenario should lead to the design and implementation of a broad medium-term reform agenda, to increase the region’s resilience and raise its potential growth capacity, while being conducive to the correction of the main macroeconomic and social imbalances.

  • 06/10/2020
    Asset purchase programmes of Latin American central banks. Early-Release Box: Report on the Latin-American economy. Second half of 2020 (200 KB) International Economics and Euro Area Department

    This article analyses recent developments in the average effective retirement age in light of the 2011 reform and the different forms of retirement. The analysis shows, first, that the effective retirement age has tended to increase in recent years as a result of the net increase in the retirement age within all forms of retirement, which has more than offset the opposite effect prompted by the growing share of the various forms of early retirement. Second, the impact of the 2011 reform, from the standpoint of retirement age, seemingly remains limited, as the percentage of new retirees who take retirement on the basis of legislation prior to the reform is still significant, and the statutory retirement age for workers with sufficiently lengthy contribution histories is still 65. Third, on average, workers who take some form of early or partial retirement have the lowest retirement age, although they generally have longer contribution periods and higher regulatory bases.

  • 24/08/2020
    Spanish companies exporting goods to the United Kingdom: stylised features and recent developments by Region (352 KB) Eduardo Gutiérrez Chacón and César Martín Machuca

    This article analyses, by region, the trade exposure of Spanish firms to the United Kingdom, based on individual information from the Balance of Payments and the Central Balance Sheet Data Office. Exposure to the UK economy shows some regional variability. Since 2016 there has been a fairly widespread downward trend of this exposure in terms both of nominal exports of goods to the United Kingdom and of the number of companies engaging in this activity. The vulnerability of Spanish export companies to Brexit is, in part, moderated in broad terms by their productivity levels and by the degree of geographical diversification of their exports, which are higher than at firms which trade with the main euro area partners.

  • 17/07/2020
    Market microstructure factors in the determination of oil prices (1 MB) Carlos González Pedraz and María Teresa González Pérez

    On 20 April 2020 the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil futures price for May delivery turned negative for the first time in history. Other crude prices also posted very low values and their volatility soared, far more than that on stock markets. This article analyses the differences between the spot and futures markets for crude, demonstrating the key role they played in the source and subsequent correction of this event, which affected above all WTI contracts more than Brent. The article also highlights the increasingly significant presence of oil exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and their growing use as a retail investment instrument.

  • 29/04/2020
    Report on the Latin American economy. First half of 2020 (1 MB)

    This article analyses the recent performance of the main Latin American economies (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Peru). Economic developments in the region have progressively been influenced by the global spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Although it has reached Latin America with some delay compared to Europe and the United States, it shows a similar pattern of dissemination. Moreover, the region faces this pandemic in an economic situation which had already beforehand shown signs of weakness owing to various idiosyncratic reasons, related in part to the bouts of social tension in the final stretch of last year. Some factors, such as high labour market informality and the improvable quality of some institutions, may act as amplifiers of the impact of the health crisis. From the economic standpoint, the pandemic is affecting the region through various key channels, namely the trade, commodities, tourism, financial and domestic demand channels. The national containment measures, the impact of the pandemic on the population, the global nature of the shock and the differential effects on the region are seeing analysts revise their GDP forecasts for 2020 notably downwards, with a balance of risks tilted to the downside. The monetary and fiscal authorities have responded, swiftly adopting measures. Although the region has in recent years consolidated progressively more robust monetary and fiscal policy arrangements, it has less monetary and fiscal space than at the start of the 2008-2009 crisis. Moreover, the Latin American economies, with the exception of Peru, have notably increased their external debt since 2008, though they have more international reserves than in the previous global crisis. Against this background, the resolute response by national policies should ideally be supported by a coordinated global response, led by the main multilateral agencies and geared to minimising the possible long-term adverse effects on the region’s economies.
    Three boxes accompany this report. The first considers the causes and potential effects of the social tensions in some of the region’s countries in the closing months of 2019. The second examines the process of integration of Latin America into global trade and its results, analysing the challenges outstanding if the region is to fully reap the benefits of greater trade integration. The third sets out some simulations made on the basis of a global macroeconometric model to illustrate the potential adverse effects of COVID-19 on economic activity in the main Latin American economies.

  • 17/03/2020
    The EU-MERCOSUR free trade agreement: main features and economic impact (383 KB) Jacopo Timini and Francesca Viani

    This article describes the main characteristics of the trade agreement reached between the European Union (EU) and the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) in 2019 and presents estimates of its possible impact on trade and GDP in the two areas.
    It is an ambitious agreement involving the full liberalisation of almost all of the goods trade between the two blocs, facilitating the provision of services and the reduction of non-tariff barriers, and envisaging reciprocal liberalisation of public procurement. Similarly, it includes provisions on the protection of the environment and workers’ rights.
    The agreement’s estimated effects on trade and economic activity will be significant for MERCOSUR. The impact for the EU will be more modest, yet always positive, since trade with MERCOSUR is less significant for EU members. Spain is among the EU member countries whose economies will benefit most from the agreement.

  • 13/02/2020
    The end of the demographic dividend in Latin America: challenges for economic and social policies (478 KB) Juan Carlos Berganza, Rodolfo Campos, Enrique Martínez Casillas and Javier Pérez

    Population ageing is a major global challenge. The Latin American economies have a younger population structure than other emerging and advanced economies, which has allowed them to enjoy the so-called demographic dividend (a favourable working age/non-working age population ratio). However, according to the latest demographic projections of the United Nations (UN), it is estimated that in 2020 the Latin American population pyramid will resemble that of the advanced economies in 1990 and that, by around 2050, both groups will have similar population profiles. This article documents the current demographic trends in Latin America and discusses the main related challenges, in particular, those arising from the adaptation of social welfare systems to population ageing.

  • 11/02/2020
    The relationship between inflation rates in advanced economies (305 KB) Luis J. Álvarez, Ana Gómez Loscos and M.ª Dolores Gadea

    This article analyses the link between the changes in and the drivers of inflation in a broad range of advanced economies, with special emphasis on those of the euro area. Inflation rates are seen to be highly synchronised across countries, especially in the euro area economies, reflecting their close economic and financial links and the common monetary policy. Also, the comovement of inflation is found to be a phenomenon that tends to be more visible in the medium and long-term. At the same time, the synchronisation of core inflation, which is based on products with more stable prices, is seen to be limited. The interdependence of headline inflation, by contrast, is significantly higher and has increased considerably in recent years. The drivers of inflation, according to New Keynesian Phillips curve models, such as inflation expectations, the cyclical position and external prices, also help to explain the relationship between inflation rates in advanced economies and especially in those of the euro area.

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