Energy imports soar by 16,000 million euros in just four months | Economy

Reganosa liquefied natural gas terminal in Mugardos (A Coruña).
Reganosa liquefied natural gas terminal in Mugardos (A Coruña).CEDIDA/EP (Europa Press)

The energy bill skyrockets impoverishing the Spanish economy. Between January and April, imports of energy products have increased by around 16,000 million euros, from the almost 11,400 million that were bought from abroad in the first four months of 2021 to the 27,500 million acquired this year in the same period, according to data published by the Secretary of State for Commerce. This is a very strong increase of 142%. Or what is the same, it supposes more than doubling the cost of an input that comes from abroad and that, therefore, is subtracting national income.

And this happens only in a matter of months. The influence of the war in Ukraine on energy costs is evident: prices of imported energy products have risen 45% in the year to April. However, the detailed analysis of this figure is somewhat more complex. Part of the increase occurs because demand that was interrupted by the pandemic is still recovering. These data are compared with some months of 2021 in which there were still outbreaks of the virus and restrictions on mobility. the storm Philomena also influenced. In fact, in volume terms, energy imports still increased by 67%. In other words, a good part is also due to the increased demand.

Another factor that helps explain this sharp rise in demand is the increase in reserves. The European Union has called on countries to stock up for a winter in which there may be supply problems if sanctions and embargoes increase due to an escalation of tensions between Russia and Europe.

In addition, as explained by Raúl Mínguez, director of the study service of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce, on the other hand, the Spanish economy exports a portion of these imported products after having treated them in its plants. This is the case of oil refining and liquefied gas regasification. In both areas, Spain stands out for its industry, which is reflected in the figures for energy exports, which are also growing vigorously. They shoot up 129% to 11,400 million. As is happening with liquefied gas, these purchases come from countries like the United States and then circulate, being sold from Spain to other foreign destinations. In prices, Spanish energy exports rose 33% and in volume, 72%. In other words, once energy products have been processed in Spain, their prices rise a little less than what imports of the raw material are increasing.

loss of income

In any case, the balance between energy exports and imports is deteriorating very sharply to the detriment of Spain: the Spanish energy deficit increased between January and April to 16,100 million compared to 6,400 million a year earlier. It has tripled. Those 10,000 million are the loss that the Spanish economy is having. It is almost the equivalent of one point of GDP or almost one month of pension payroll. Being net importers, Spain is transferring income abroad to pay for these products and, therefore, is becoming poorer.

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As a consequence of this evolution, energy products have gone from being 11% of the import basket to almost 20%. They have practically doubled their weight.

The United States is the country that is taking the most advantage of this situation. Its total exports to Spain in the first four months of the year have risen 143% to 11.3 billion euros. No major country has fattened its sales to the Spanish economy in this way. And this is due to both gas and oil. With the detailed data only available between January and March, gas imports from the United States have multiplied by 14 in the first quarter to 2,600 million. Those of oil have grown almost 150% to 1,100 million. The advanced industry fracking The United States has gas in abundance and therefore lower prices, which allows the country to export around 75% of its liquefied gas to Europe, a third of which enters the continent through Spain thanks to its regasification capacity.

Nigeria is another country whose exports to Spain are doing very well: they double in four months to 3,000 million. Those of Algeria grow to the same extent: 121% to nearly 2,500 million. Those of Brazil rise 97% and exceed 2,200 million. And those of Saudi Arabia climb 95%, bordering on 1,500 million. They are all being suppliers of energy.

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