Country Listing

Spain Table of Contents



Gross Domestic Product (GDP): US$340.1 billion in 1988 (US$8,702 per capita). Economy stagnant during late 1970s and first half of the 1980s, but real gross domestic product (GDP--see Glossary) growth averaged 3.3 percent in 1986 and 5.5 percent in 1987, roughly double the West European rate.

Agriculture: Made up about 5 percent of GDP in 1988 and employed about 15 percent of population. Very important producer of citrus fruits, olive oil, vegetables, and wine. Agricultural products made up more than 15 percent of country's exports. Productive and modern farming along southern and eastern coasts able to meet foreign competition. Small antiquated farms of northwestern region threatened by Spain's membership in European Community (EC--see Glossary).

Industry: Made up about 30 percent of GDP and employed about one-third of work force in late 1980s. Consisted of unprofitable heavy industry segment, mainly government-owned, and profitable chemical and manufacturing components that accounted for most of Spain's exports.

Services: Accounted for about half of GDP in 1988. Tourism vital to the economy, and it alone made up about a tenth of GDP. In 1987 more than 50 million foreign tourists visited Spain.

Imports: US$49.1 billion in 1987. Because of a surging economy, approximately one-fourth of this amount consisted of capital goods and about one-fifth of consumer goods. Fuels made up approximately one-sixth.

Exports: US$34.2 billion in 1987. Raw materials, chemicals, and unfinished goods made up about one-third of this amount, as did non-food consumer goods, most notably cars and trucks. Agricultural products and wine supplied about one-sixth of total exports.

Major Trade Partners: In 1987 63.8 percent of Spain's exports went to the EC, which it supplied Spain with 54.6 of its imports. France was single biggest buyer of Spanish exports, taking 18.9 percent in 1987. Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) most important exporter to Spain, supplying 16.1 percent that year. United States accounted, respectively, for 8.3 and 8.1 of Spain's imports and exports.

Balance of Payments: Spain without a positive merchandise balance since 1960. However, large earnings from tourism and remittances from Spaniards working abroad guaranteed a positive current account balance up through 1987.

General Economic Conditions: Strong growth since mid-1980s and controlled inflation made Spain's economy one of Western Europe's healthiest. Full membership in EC posed a threat for weaker sectors of the economy, both industrial and agricultural. Spain had long had Western Europe's highest unemployment rate, more than 20 percent.

Exchange Rate: In March 1988, 113.49 pesetas (see Glossary) to US$1.

Fiscal year: Calendar year.

Data as of December 1988