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Foreign investment in Catalonia falls by 40% in 2017

Biggest decrease between July and September, 75% less than same period in 2016

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20 March 2018 01:22 PM

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ACN | Barcelona

Foreign investment in Catalonia fell by 40% to 3.1 billion euros in 2017, according to figures released by the Spanish Ministry of Economy on Tuesday. This significant drop comes after two record years, with 5.4 billion euros invested in 2015, and 5.1 billion euros in 2016.

During the first half of 2017, foreign investment increased by 27% when compared with the same period in 2016. In the second term, however, it decreased by 62%. The biggest drop came between July and September, when foreign investment fell by 75% less than 2016.

Silver lining

Despite these negative figures for one of the most politically turbulent years in the country’s recent history, Catalonia is considered to be the best place for foreign investment in south Europe.

The FDI Strategy award, published in the FDI magazine by the Financial Times group, is considered to be one of the most prestigious rankings worldwide.

The ranking is based on five criteria: economic potential, human capital, profitability, connectivity, and business climate. The business climate refers to the general environment in which businesses operate with regard to the attitudes of governments and lending institutions in relation to business activity.

450 south European regions and cities are analysed in order to determine the top five places for foreign investment. Catalonia came in on top, followed by Madrid, Lombardy, Istanbul, and Lisbon.

Big names

Although the overall figures for money coming into Catalonia from abroad did not paint a positive picture for 2017, some big multinationals laid out their plans for future operations in the country.

Amazon inaugurated another logistics centre last autumn, which is expected to be fully operational within the next two years.

The total investment of the new centre amounts to around 200 million euros, and is expected to create a total of 1,500 new jobs, with people working alongside state-of-the-art robots.

In September last year, the innovative car manufacturer Tesla, owned by entrepreneur Elon Musk, also unveiled its first showroom in the Barcelona area.

Other notable multinationals with interests in Catalonia include the Hard Rock group, behind a 2 billion euro investment in a massive leisure complex in Tarragona. Norwegian airlines is also strengthening its base in Catalonia, moving its south European headquarters close to Barcelona in the third quarter of 2018.

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  • Image of a Hard Rock sign at Punta Cana (courtesy of Hard Rock)