rumour: Spain Is Faking Its GDP Data

An anonymous email making the rounds in Europe points out some disturbing discrepancies in Spanish economic data. For a long analysis, check out FT Alphaville.

In short, the report’s author asks why Spain’s massive surge in unemployment during the recession did not yield a commensurate drop in GDP, as was the trend across Europe.

Thus, Spain’s unemployment-to-GDP change ratio is out of whack:

chart

The discrepancy carries over to measures of the service sector, which comprises 50% of Spanish GDP. The indicator of activity (IASS) strangely decoupled with gross value added (GVA), suggests that one of them was misreported.

chart

What GDP makes sense based on these and other indicators? From a 3.1% drop a 17.3% collapse, the report says.

These rumours, whether or not true, may have a negative effect on Spain’s credit rating, which was downgraded by Moody’s today. On the other hand, the trick — if real — may have fooled the market long enough for a recovery to begin.

More analysis at FT Alphaville >

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