Spain seems to be approaching the ill-fated “Champions League of world economies”, as it was coined ten years ago by the former President of the Government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero when he congratulated in 2007 on the advance of the national per capita income against its European competitors, just before that the economy was plunged into the worst crisis in decades. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita of Spain, measured in dollars and with equal purchasing power, surpassed last year Italy’s for the first time in the IMF’s historical series, which began in 1980. The statistics, which record the Average income growth in recent years, was of 38,286 dollars per beard in 2017, 145 more than the 38,140 of Italy. As there is more activity per population and taking purchasing power into account, GDP per capita is higher: this is how we Spaniards, on average, are richer than Italians.
Beyond the “sorpasso”, the statistics reflect the recovery of Spain’s activity in recent years in the face of the stagnation of the Italian economy. According to this indicator, since 2007, GDP per capita in Spain has grown by 17% while that of Italy has grown by 6%. For the next few years the IMF believes that the gap between Spain and Italy will continue to expand in favor of the first, as the institution contemplates that our country continues to grow at a faster pace. For this year, without going any further, the IMF predicts a growth of 2.8% for Spain and 1.5% for Italy. Spain happens to occupy the position 37 in the world ranking changing by Italy.
In any case, the unequal purchasing power of both countries is unequivocal in statistics: in Spain the price level is lower than in Italy, so that less is bought more. If we eliminate this filter, in per capita nominal income Spain, with $ 28,359 per capita, it remains behind Italy, with $ 31,984. This will continue to be the case, according to the IMF, in the next six years.
The vision from the markets is that Spain has emerged from the crisis with greater vigor than Italy, caught in a political paralysis that now threatens our country. The risk premium of Spain, of 69 points, has increased its distance with that of Italy, of 119. In addition, the rating agencies have increased the sovereign rating of Spain over Italy. Another fact explains this advance: the demographic projections of Spain are worse than those of Italy, so it touches more GDP per inhabitant. While Italy has gained 2.1 million since 2007 to 60.6 million, Spain has raised its population by 1.1 million, to 46.3. For the coming years, the IMF projects that Italy will raise its population by 3.7 million and Spain by 2.1.