Spain’s busi­ness lead­ers wor­ried about Cata­lan se­ces­sion

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

BARCELONA: Al­most three quar­ters of Span­ish busi­ness lead­ers fear Cat­alo­nia’s plans for an in­de­pen­dence ref­er­en­dum on Oct 1 could harm the coun­try’s econ­omy, ac­cord­ing to a study by Deloitte pub­lished in Span­ish news­pa­per El PaÌs.

Madrid has con­demned as il­le­gal plans by the north­east re­gion’s gov­ern­ment to hold a ref­er­en­dum on se­ced­ing from Spain and, if the yes vote wins, de­clare in­de­pen­dence uni­lat­er­ally within 48 hours.

Last week, the Span­ish gov­ern­ment said Cat­alo­nia would lose ac­cess to some pub­lic funds if it used the money to pre­pare for the un­sanc­tioned plebiscite. Na­tion­wide 74 per­cent of 265 busi­ness lead­ers sur­veyed be­lieve the Cata­lan in­de­pen­dence move­ment threat­ens the Span­ish econ­omy, while 43 per­cent of those based in Cat­alo­nia it­self agree, ac­cord­ing to the Deloitte Sur­vey of Com­pa­nies study com­mis­sioned for El Pais.

De­spite con­cerns about the po­lit­i­cal dead­lock over Cat­alo­nia, con­fi­dence in Spain’s con­tin­ued eco­nomic growth re­mains high, ac­cord­ing to the poll. Eight out of 10 di­rec­tors polled said the econ­omy had im­proved in the first half of the year. Seven out of 10 ex­pect to bill more in the sec­ond half of the year than in the first six months. Spain has sur­passed ex­pec­ta­tions for GDP growth this year. Last week the In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund said it ex­pected Spain’s econ­omy to grow by around 2.5 per­cent in 2018, up from its pre­vi­ous fore­cast of 2.1 per­cent. —Reuters

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