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2007 OECD Economic Surveys: Spain 2007

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Spain 2007

This edition of OECD's periodic survey of Spain's economy examines the key policy challenges Spain will be facing.  In particular, it examines the chellenges of returning to more sustainable growth, of managing fiscal policy, of strengthening innovation and of improving the functioning of goods and services markets.

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Main policy challenges

Spanish economic growth, sustained by sharply rising domestic demand and employment, has remained strong in recent times, and the differential in per capita GDP with the euro area average fell to an estimated 12% in 2005. Nevertheless, the imbalances that have been accompanying the expansion for some years now raise persistent questions as to whether the expansion can last: i) the still high inflation differential with the euro area average is eroding competitiveness and helping to widen the external deficit, which has now reached a historic high; ii) developments in the housing market, where real prices have doubled since 1998, and mounting household debt remain disturbing; and iii) productivity growth is still extremely low. Moreover, from a longer-term standpoint, the currently sound position of public finances could be threatened, given the expected consequences of population ageing. There is broad consensus on this assessment of the Spanish economy and the need to find remedies for these difficulties, prompting the authorities to continue to implement their 2005 National Reform Programme. However, in some cases there are questions about the pace and ambition of the measures introduced thus far for meeting these challenges.

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