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Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas


Spain’s private sector debt service ratio: An international comparison
Maudos, J.
Fuente: SEFO (Spanish and International Economic & Financial Outlook)

Corporate income registered significant growth in 2022, making notable progress towards reaching pre-pandemic levels. However, in 2023, it was household income that was more dynamic. The trend in household income has been relatively favourable throughout the post-pandemic years, despite the increase in inflation. This has been largely attributable to the resilience of the Spanish labour market labour, as well as wage growth. These factors allowed Spain’s households to absorb the impact of the increase in interest rates in 2023 with relative ease, as evidenced by the stability in the rate of loan non-performance in this sector. As well, household debt, at 74.2% of GDI, reached its lowest level since 2001. In the corporate sector, however, the increase in rates had a more pronounced impact, although that is not the only reason for its relatively weak earnings performance. Indeed, Gross Operating Surplus (GOS) registered moderate growth, down significantly from 2022 and below the growth in the compensation and benefits received by Spanish households, which, in contrast, accelerated. By comparison with 2019, in nominal terms, the income gap between the non-financial corporate (NFC) and household sectors widened, revealing an incomplete recovery in the corporate segment compared to solid growth in household income. Lastly, investment levels at Spain’s corporations remain depressed, with firms preferring to use their profits to repay debt, despite already healthy leverage levels by both historical standards and by comparison with their European peers.

Cómo citar este artículo

Maudos, J. (2024). «Spain’s private sector debt service ratio: An international comparison». SEFO (Spanish and International Economic & Financial Outlook) 13, n.º 3 (mayo): 49-56.