Solunion, the trade credit insurance joint venture created by Euler Hermes and MAPFRE, participated in the recent 2015 Forinvest conference: “Export as an Opportunity for the Valencian Economy”, a major Spanish event for finance and industry representatives. In a presentation entitled “Objective Export: A strategy for growth”, Felipe Buhigas, Solunion Group commercial and marketing director, highlighted distinctive features of Spanish exports, which reached €240 billion in 2014 despite a 0.5% year-on-year decline.
His speech noted that 50% of Spanish exports are concentrated in three sectors: capital goods, food and automotive. The high-growth sectors in 2014 were respectively: energy products, manufactured consumer goods, automobiles, food, beverages, tobacco and chemicals
“Companies with credit insurance export to twice as many countries as those that are not covered,” said Buhigas. “And insured companies are also more innovative: 64% of them launch new products, compared to 57% of those without insurance.”
Daniela Ordóñez, Euler Hermes economist for Spain, Portugal and Latin America, presented an overview of the global economy, stating that 2015 is expected to be the last year with GDP growth below 3%.
“If 2014 was a disappointing year marked by deflation and very disparate economic trends, 2015 will depend on the developments of demand, liquidity and politics," she said.
Ordóñez also noted that Russia and Greece represent significant challenges for 2015, and that exchange rate volatility and the lack of nominal growth will present major obstacles for the global economy. On a positive note, she mentioned the stock exchanges, which will benefit from the increase in liquidity, the drop in oil prices, which will lead to a moderate rise in the margins of European companies, and the Quantitative Easing promoted by the European Central Bank, which has caused the euro-dollar exchange rate to fall (€1.1) and will have a gradual impact on the competitiveness of exports from euro zone countries.
Ordóñez outlined the key factors that confirm the Spanish recovery:
- less restrictive - and cheaper - financing terms
- an upturn in domestic demand, and
- the export sector as a driver of recovery due to heightened competitiveness.
She also noted the negative aspects that will continue to weigh on the Spanish economy, such as
- downward price pressures that adversely affect company margins
- unfinished changes in the banking and construction sectors, and
- companies' payment practices, which continue to be impacted by the shortage of credit.