The latest figures published this Monday by Idescat and the Catalan vice-presidency and economy department, headed by Pere Aragonès, show that the Catalan economy has grown more than 3% in the second quarter of the year, making it fourteen straight quarters of such notable year-on-year growth. Specifically, it's grown by 3.1% with respect to the same period last year and 0.7% with respect to the previous quarter. They're figures which call for optimism in a very complicated environment over these last months which can be summarised by the 17th August attack, the police violence of 1st October, the suspension of Catalan autonomy, the entry into prison of a large part of the Catalan government, the exile of president Puigdemont and various ministers, the impossibility to elect a president of Catalonia due to the Constitutional and Supreme Courts' vetoes, the refusal of the Spanish government to formally publish the restitution of various ministers and, during all these months, the presentation of Catalonia as a very politically unstable region.
Well, despite all that, the Catalan economy is sailing ahead at the speed of a cruise ship with industry as a key engine and the service sector progressing positively. The same can be said about exports, which grew 3.3% in the first quarter of the year -the latest figures released-, the best result since 1995. According to the economy department, it accounts for 25.7% of all sales by Spain abroad.
All these statistics are especially important for two reasons: firstly, because it's worth highlighting them in a political climate which is always full of difficulties and with a Spanish government unmoved by old requests which would be of great help, like improvements to infrastructure. And, secondly, because in these months of so much fake news spread to take down the Catalan independence movement, statistics and economic forecasts have been played with with impunity. You just have to look at the reports from the end of last year from supposedly prestigious bodies, like Funcas and BBVA, to see how wrong they were. They put Catalonia in the tail end of Spain's autonomous communities, only ahead of Extremadura and Andalucia, predicting GDP growth of only 1.7% for 2018. BBVA's study, for its part, spoke of 2.1% and that it would be the economy which slowed down the most.
None of that is going to turn out true if the current forecasts hold up, but, at that time, it was about playing politics with the economy, putting fear into the hearts of Catalans and, if possible, having them vote for unionist choices. But of course, forecasts are important when they're announced, afterwards people quickly forget them. And there's nobody who makes up for the damage caused.