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Barcelona, number 1 cruise port in Europe!

Barcelona becomes first cruise ship port in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea

Published at Catalan News Agency 18th April 2011 / Ignacio Portela Giráldez

The Liberty of the Seas a true floating town anchored at Barcelona port

Barcelona (ACN).- Step by step, Barcelona is becoming an important port of call for cruise ships from all over the world, and it is already the main stop off point in Europe and the Mediterranean Sea. In 2010, 2,350,000 passengers used the port’s facilities:an increase of 9% on 2009 figures. These numbers show that Barcelona has becomeEurope’s first cruise ship port,and also the fourth docking port in the world. Catalonia also has other ports where cruise ships stop:Tarragona, Palamós and Roses. 2011 could also be a record year for Palamós, the small harbour on the Costa Brava. Around 40 cruise ships are expected to harbour there this year.”

Catalonia could become one of the riches states in the world!

Organization/Publication:    Capital

Author: Juan Llobell

Date:   4th April 2011

Re:      Interview with Mr. Kennet Rogoff

The economy magazine Capital, from DixiMedia Group, has published this week an interview with Mr. Kenneth Rogoff, the renown Havard Economy Professor who acted as Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund from August 2001 to September 2003; the reason of the interview is Mr.Rogoff best-seller about the last 800 years of recession (“This time is different” co-authored with Carmen Reinhart).

The author of the interview qualifies Mr. Rogoff as one of the most respected voices worldwide, along with Paul Krugman (professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University) or Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2001)).

Here I have translated an extract of the interview, where Mr. Rogoff provides his opinion about the current economic situation of the Spanish state (click here to read the original publication in Spanish: http://www.capital.es/2011/04/04/kenneth-rogoff-%E2%80%9Csi-espana-quiebra-podria-caer-hasta-francia%E2%80%9D/ .)

What do you think of the Spanish economy?
–I have no doubts that the biggest challenge for Spain is to grow. With  20% unemployment rate, the country will need a lot of good luck to increase its GDP this year. It is absolutely necessary they achieve at least 3 or 4% growth rate in order to reduce unemployment, but this is not very probable in the medium term. Furthermore, it is clear that Spain needs a deep structural reform of its whole economic system.

– Do you think Zapatero’s government has done everything possible?
–The current Spanish government has not been fast enough taking the right measures, though they are doing some things. In time, we will see the impact of these measures and how they are being put into practice. Direct short-term impact measures are urgently required, most specially in regards to unemployment. Yet Spain is a country with various fortress and cannot be compared to other states. There are some excellent multinationals here, and of course they administrate Catalonia, a nation that if independent would become one of the richest countries of the world… However, without growth, all these deficit restructuring plans will not be sustainable. In that case, I can foresee at least 5 year stagnation for the Spanish state.

I hope it is obvious for everyone that this is a new of absolute relevance for the Catalan people. One of the most important economist in the world believes that if Catalonia would obtain its own sovereignty, it would become a rich country. This boosts up our will for a total break-up with the Spanish government, supported by worldwide respected economists.

Catalonia to launch 2.7 bln euro retail bond

(Reuters, Madrid 1st April 2011) – According to the international news agency Reuters, the Catalan  government is planning to launch a 2.7 billion euro retail bond this month of April, following declaration from the spokesman from the Catalan government  on Friday last week. The spokesman added that the bond would have maturities for one year, paying 4.25 percent, and for two years, paying 4.75 percent. The two-year tranche will be capped at 1.066 billion euros.

Albert Carreras at a conference in Pompeu Fabra University

In mid-March Catalonia’s new Economy Secretary Albert Carreras told Reuters Catalonia is paying too much to refinance its debt and would look to carry out roadshows overseas to spur interest in the region. Now worldwide potential investors are watching the Catalan finances closely; their major concern is finding signs we may be unable to cut spending and help the Spanish government meet its EU agreed deficit targets. So it seems, the new government of Artur Mas is taking serious measures about the deficit problem, as they have the impression that Catalonia will play a major role in economic and business recovery for the all the regions under Spanish administration.

Catalan savings banks La Caixa, Catalunya Caixa and Unnim, along with  Banc de Sabadell and Barclays Bank, will manage the placement. Reuters IFR service has published that Catalonia was one of nine Spanish regions which missed their deficit targets last year and so it needs to refinance around 4.3 billion euros this year. On the other hand, the fiscal conditions of the Basque nation allowed them to fulfill deficit targets in 2010, which should be proof enough of the imminent need of rebuilding the current fiscal and funding conditions for the Catalan nation. Why is the Spanish administration so fearful of allowing the Catalan government to have a similar system like the basques do? Many experts believe that Spain would stop receiving such an amount of Euros that would force the Bourbon king to sell 3 quarters of all the royal family properties to compensate the loss on a yearly basis and keep the Spanish state running.

Click here to read full article at

9 Catalan companies will be in Silicon Valley on 2011!

The Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona , together with Barcelona Activa and other institutions, has initiated a program to help Catalan ICT companies to increase their abroad presence, and become more competitive internationally.
Starting this January, 9 Catalan ICT companies –among which we find Spenta, Nice People at Work, Linqia, Fluendo, Apesoft, Urbiotica, Justinmind, Inbenta and Mubiquo– will settle down in the prestigious center for at least six months with no cost. They have all been chosen, among 30 selected companies, by Barcelona’s Chamber of Commerce, Barcelona Activa and a network of experts in Plug&Play. “From 2008, several experts in Plug&Play, together with Venture Capital Enterprises visit Barcelona twice a year to look for technological companies that could be interesting for Plug&Play Techcenter. This year, 30 ICT companies were detected. After analyzing their business model, the markets they operate in and, above all, the type of technology they develop, we chose nine”, declared Mr.Lluch, responsible for this program at the Chamber of Commerce of Bacelona.
The Catalan capital must be proud of having achieved such an important milestone in the ICT business, by having the first institution present at Plug & Play Techcenter. As a result of this experience, other countries like Austria, Canada, Singapore, Egypt or Finland have followed this model that pursuits that all chosen companies have the best conditions to expand their businesses in the United States.

Spain debt to the EU will impact Catalan business in 2011

Reuters, on the 15th December, published a statement from Moody Corporation, confirming it may downgrade Spain’s debt rating in order to help preventing Euro to keep falling during Q1-2011. The worldwide finance reference corporation, dedicated to the provision of credit ratings and economic research, among other services, is to strictly review Spain’s Aa1 ratings for a potential downgrade, and expressed its concern about the Spanish mounting debt and 2011 funding needs.

Despite Moody’s last article confirmed a negative outlook for Spanish banks and funds for the upcoming year, it is doubtful that Spain will finally require the EU bailout, as Greece and Ireland already have.

Further to Reuters newsflash, The New York Times confirms European stocks lost already some ground after Moody’s revision on Spanish ratings, which obviously decreases the Euro value compared to US Dollar and Swiss franc and puts Spain once more into a burdensome financial momentum.

Analysts believe Spain will suffer major post-crisis market circumstances during early 2011, which could even feel worse that what the country already suffered during 2009. As a consequence to this troublesome economic situation, it is expected both worldwide import and export from/to Spanish territory will strongly drop next year.

How this situation will impact into the Catalan market, on all scopes, is something Catalan entrepreneurs have been fearing already for a long time now. Many Catalan companies have been financing their poor Spanish clients, especially since financial crisis erupted end of 2008. But banks shortened or totally cut credit lines to most of them, and some companies already declared bankruptcy or had to fire most of their personnel to cope with the expenses, while being forced to provide wider financing conditions to their Spanish customers.

Catalonia is suffering in constrain in of the worst business momentums for our country. The central government restrictions imposed to Catalan company owners of medium and small organizations are tougher than for other regions of the Spanish state, and the economical helps provided to companies within the Catalan territory are considerably lower as well.

Catalonia has a strong tradition in commerce and business practices worldwide since before the Roman Empire, and operating both economically and industrially independently from the Spanish state could for sure increase the volume of business within Catalan territory, help to decrease the deficit and of course, provide higher country revenues.

From a strictly objective business point of view, it is highly counterproductive for Catalonia to keep being a member of the Spanish state instead of being a member of the European Community.  The economical advantages of becoming a state of the European Community are as evident as the disadvantages of Spain letting us go. However, it is in our right, as the Declaration of Human Rights states, that everyone has the right to have a nation. And ours is Catalonia!

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